Can You File a Power Outage Food Damage Claim with First Energy?
When the power goes out, you know what to do. You light the candles or grab the flashlights and you wait it out. You don't open the fridge, because that will let out the cold. But the outage lasts for hours. When the lights finally come back on, you're more than hungry and ready to cook dinner, but there's one problem. You can smell the food rot the moment you open the fridge.
Food loss is a common consequence of extended power outages, but this can result in the loss of tens to hundreds of dollars in groceries, depending on how recently you shopped and how big your family is. Can you , your power provider? Good question. Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple.
How Long Before You Experience Food Loss in a Power Outage?
It takes just four hours in a power outage for your fridge to get warm enough for bacteria to grow. Open foods, raw meats, dairy, and cooked dishes like rice or casserole are the most susceptible. It may take a little longer for preserved foods like luncheon meat to go, but stewing with the rest of your warm groceries, it's not worth the risk.
After a 4 Hour Power Outage:
- Throw away all spoilable food in your fridge and freezer
- Wash all produce or unspoiled sealed containers (ex: juice boxes you just prefer cold) with soap
- Clean the inside of your fridge and freezer immediately
The USDA recommends throwing out everything in your fridge if a power outage lasts longer than 4 hours. After this, your grocery costs will need to be reimbursed by your energy provider or homeowner's insurance policy.
Will First Energy Reimburse My Food Damage Losses?
According to First Energy, they do not - as a rule - reimburse food loss. However, they put it in an interesting language.
"FirstEnergy does not reimburse customers for equipment damaged or food lost during a weather-related outage. Customers should contact their renter's or homeowner's insurance carrier to determine if their policies cover such losses." - First Energy FAQ
What this means is that if it was a storm-related outage, they will likely say "No" when you ask for food loss reimbursement. However, if the outage was caused by a First Energy equipment failure or work on the lines, they might approve reimbursement to make it right. But don't count on it. This language says it's their policy to say "No" and chalk everything up to the weather.
How to File a Power Outage Food Damage Claim Against First Energy
What can you do to get reimbursement for food damage after a power outage with First Energy?
Try the Customer Service Line, Just to See What Happens
|If the outage was not weather-related, start with customer service. There is a slim chance that First Energy will decide to make it right in situations where they caused the outage. However, announced outages (that are still long enough to spoil your food) may also be excluded from reimbursement as a policy.|
Make a Food Loss Claim With Your Homeowners’ Insurance Policy
|Many homeowners insurance policies cover sudden unexpected food loss; often in coverage up to $500 or $1000. Check your policy. If you have food loss coverage, you can file a Homeowners' claim for power outage food damage. Your insurance policy will pay you for the groceries, then they will try to get the money from First Energy.|
To prove your food damages and get fair compensation, you will need:
- Photos of the inside of your fridge and freezer
- Receipt from your last 1 or 2 grocery trips
- Spotlight any expensive foods like steak, lobster, or large freezer supplies that were lost
What to Do Next if First Energy and Your Insurance Won’t Cover Your Food Damage?
What if First Energy won't take responsibility and your insurance doesn't cover food loss? In this case, you have two options. You can file a small claims lawsuit against First Energy for the amount in groceries that were lost. Or you can work through a proxy like DoNotPay that has the time and resources to push on corporate offices until they do the right thing.
How to Get First Energy to Cover Your Food Damages With the Help Of DoNotPay
It's always frustrating when you seek damages and the responsible party gives you a flat "No" as their policy answer. First Energy has made it their policy not to pay for food loss, even if their mistakes or slow repair pace was the reason your fridge was out for 4+ hours and food was spoiled.
Fortunately, DoNotPay can help. If the outage was the responsibility of First Energy, we can help push your complaint through customer service while saving you the hassle and time. If your insurance company could but doesn't want to cover your losses (or your agent is being a pain), we'll fight for your rights to the coverage you paid for.
And if neither option offers you a remedy, we'll help you in small claims court. You can count on DoNotPay to save you time and energy with online services.
How to Get Compensation for an Outage Using DoNotPay:
If you want to get compensation for an outage but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 9 easy steps:
- Go to the Outage Refunds product on DoNotPay.
- Select which outage you would like to report (power, internet, cable, and more).
- Select your energy provider and enter your account number.
- Indicate when the outage started and how long it lasted.
- Verify your account information.
- If you want to be reimbursed for losses related to a power outage, choose whether you want to be reimbursed for personal injuries, damaged property, or both.
- Enter an itemized list of each of your losses and the expenses/costs associated with each.
- Upload documents or photographic evidence that proves your losses. Also add the names of any witnesses who can attest to your losses if possible.
- Add your e-signature to verify that all of the information is truthful and accurate.
Why Use DoNotPay To Claim First Energy Food Damage from the Power Outage
Let DoNotPay make your life easier and more affordable this year. You don't have to soak the cost of a fridge full of groceries just because First Energy says they don't cover "weather-related" outages. We'll fight for your loss recovery so you can focus on every other aspect of your busy life. DoNotPay's services come from the fact that it's:
- Fast—You don't have to spend hours trying to solve the issue
- Easy—You don't have to struggle to fill out tedious forms or keep track of all the steps involved in solving your problem
- Successful—You can rest assured knowing we'll make the best case for you
DoNotPay Can Help With All Sorts Outage-Based Loss
If you suffered more losses than just spoiled food, or you know someone else who has outage-related losses with another power company, DoNotPay can help. Our outage loss recovery services are helpful for any provider company, anywhere in the US - including internet outages.
- Power Outage Compensation and Claims
- PGE Power Outages
- Internet Outage Reimbursement
- Oncor Power Outage
- Spectrum Internet
- DTE Power Outages
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay is dedicated to helping normal people avoid unnecessary costs. Our abilities aren't limited only to outage loss recovery. We can help you with everything from disputing or paying parking tickets to managing a troublesome insurance claim.
- Parking Tickets
- Robocall Compensation
- Customer Services
- Insurance Claims
- Help with Bills
- File a Complaint
- Neighbor Complaints