A press release from National Grid:
National Grid has implemented additional steps to protect customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas across its Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island service areas. The company’s employees will continue to focus on delivering essential customer services, while temporarily suspending nonessential work that requires access to customers’ homes or businesses.
“Ensuring the health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority,” said Badar Khan, National Grid’s interim U.S. president. “As conditions continue to evolve, we are taking additional precautionary actions to mitigate exposure and reduce the impact of the novel coronavirus on our customers and the communities where we live and serve.”
•Emergency response – As always, our customers should contact us for all gas and electricity-related emergencies, such as outages, downed power lines and gas leaks.
•Electricity and gas service – We do not anticipate any service disruption to our customers at this time. We have a comprehensive emergency response plan in place to keep the lights on and the gas flowing for customers.
•Customer-requested service – We will continue to respond as usual to essential customer needs, such as turning on or off gas and electricity services (i.e. for a customer move), subject to municipal permitting and work restrictions.
•Regular billing and ability to make payments – Our regular billing process will continue. Customers are encouraged to manage their National Grid accounts online. We offer a variety of payment and billing options designed to make transactions easy and convenient. Our call center representatives remain at the ready to assist customers, but those calling in may experience longer than usual wait times.
•Payment assistance – We encourage customers who are struggling to pay their National Grid bill to contact us as soon as possible for assistance. In addition, we offer a number of solutions to support our customers, including our consumer advocates who provide crisis intervention support for those in need, working closely with state and county social service agencies and community assistance organizations.
Activities Temporarily Paused
•Collections activities & disconnections – On March 13, we temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These policies will remain in effect at least until the end of April, when we will evaluate their continued need.
•Nonessential planned electric outages – We know many individuals are working from home and children are home from school. We are limiting planned service interruptions during this time.
•Nonessential electric and gas-related services – Services such as manual meter reads, oil-to-gas conversions, gas service upgrades, and meter changes, may decrease the ability to keep social distance. Therefore, they will be paused. In the case of manual meter reads, this could result in estimated bills for some customers.
•Energy efficiency on-premise services – We are temporarily suspending all energy efficiency service activities that require home or business visits, such as energy audits.
•New York City and Long Island walk-in payment offices – Our National Grid downstate New York payment offices are temporarily closed. Payment options for customers include:
•Online – Visit ngrid.com/billpay to pay online via bank account or credit card, or sign up for convenient bill pay options, such as paperless billing, automated payments, the budget plan or assistance programs.
•Pay by phone – Have your account number ready, and you can pay over the phone with a credit or debit card or bank account. Fees may apply. In New York City, call 1-718-643-4050; Long Island, call 1-800-930-5003.
•Pay by mail – Use the convenient return envelope included with your bill.
•Pay by bank website – Contact your bank to see if they offer this service.
•Pay at a local Western Union – A location listing is available here.
Beware of Scammers
Scams related to the COVID-19 outbreak are on the rise. Imposters claiming to be National Grid employees may contact customers to collect past due balances, even promising a savings on the next bill or threatening to disconnect service. National Grid never demands direct payment through the use of a prepaid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards. For additional tips on how to protect against utility scams, visit www.nationalgridus.com/Our-Company/Scam-Alert.
Protecting Our Customers as We Continue Delivering Safe, Reliable Energy
•We have implemented additional measures that will allow us to safely continue providing essential services to our customers. Our field employees are taking precautionary measures and are required to strictly follow CDC guidelines, including:
If it is necessary for our field workers to enter a customer’s premise for emergency or essential response, our employees will:
•If a customer is ill or quarantined:
National Grid’s pandemic team continues to meet daily and we’re closely monitoring all developments associated with the evolving pandemic. We’re also sharing our preparedness plans with regulators, federal, state and local officials, emergency response organizations, customers and other key stakeholders. We will continue to closely monitor this situation, review and adjust our policies and ways of working as necessary, and will keep the lines of communications open with our employees, customers and all stakeholders.
Additional information on National Grid’s pandemic preparedness and a customer Q&A can be found at www.ngrid.com/covid-19.