National Grid Foundation matches company’s $500,000 donation to further assist customers & communities impacted by historic December storm
Submitted by National Grid
The National Grid Foundation is contributing $500,000 to further support Western New Yorkers who continue to recover from the historic blizzard that impacted Buffalo and much of the region in December. The funding will be distributed to the same charitable organizations that received $500,000 from National Grid shareholders on Jan. 12, bringing the total recovery effort funding from both organizations to $1 million.
“Last month’s blizzard devastated the City of Buffalo and, as a community partner, we know that helping neighbors means supporting them in ways that provide a significant impact,” said Ed White, executive director of the National Grid Foundation and vice president of social impact for National Grid. “We want our customers to know that we’re here to help, and are especially thrilled to be able to combine our funding with the $500,000 that was provided earlier this month by National Grid. This combined $1 million will provide relief to people in our communities who were impacted by this unprecedented storm, and we’re grateful for our community partners who are always there when our neighbors need them.”
Four organizations will use the funding to create or bolster programs to benefit those recovering from the storm, and to support community resilience during future emergencies.
√ FeedMore WNY will use the National Grid funds to replenish emergency food kits that the group distributes to clients across Western New York.
√ Back to Basics Ministries responds to emergencies in Buffalo’s Black and African American communities by organizing local nonprofits to provide direct services to those in need. National Grid’s donation will support the organization’s mobile response team, which provides food and essential items. The ongoing support will stabilize the communities that were most affected by the storm.
√ United Way of Buffalo and Erie County will work with National Grid to establish a community resilience fund that addresses immediate, short- and long-term needs of economically vulnerable families in the Buffalo area. Funds also will be used to assist with storm recovery and create a response network for future emergencies.
√ The Western New York Chapter of the American Red Cross will use the funds to support its disaster recovery programs. This includes opening shelters and making provisions for meals to community members while their homes are being repaired, as well as providing emergency supplies, winter clothing and emergency financial assistance to families in need.
During the blizzard, National Grid worked with local, state and national partners to gain access to its facilities after a “bomb cyclone” brought hurricane-force winds and more than 50 inches of heavy, wet snow to the region. As part of its emergency response, the company deployed more than 3,200 power restoration experts – including line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety crews – who worked around the clock in dangerous weather conditions to restore service to the 108,000 affected customers.
“Our blizzard restoration efforts extended beyond turning the power back on for our customers,” said Melanie Littlejohn, vice president of customer and community engagement. “We are thankful for and are emboldened by the leadership demonstrated by our Western New York partners who are creating opportunities and programs for people who need them the most. National Grid Foundation’s matching of our $500,000 shareholder contribution will add a layer of security to deliver these programs so that even more people have access to the levels of assistance they need.”
Caring for local communities, compassionately addressing challenges customers face, and collaborating with community partners are guiding principles of National Grid’s “Project C” initiative, which seeks to transform communities and ensure an equitable future for all customers.
Additional Support: Late Payment Fees Waived for Western New York Customers
National Grid customers who have experienced hardships as a result of the storm will have late payment fees waived by the company for bills with due dates between Dec. 23, 2022, and Feb. 20, 2023. Customers looking to take advantage of this program or establish a payment plan should call 1-800-443-1837. The company also offers flexible payment options and other bill solutions through its winter customer savings initiative.
In November, to further assist customers struggling to pay winter bills, National Grid shareholders provided $6 million in funding to establish the first targeted assistance programs for low- to moderate-income customers in New York. The new programs – the “Hope & Warmth Energy Fund” and “Hearts Fighting Hunger” emergency food assistance – will help families who are experiencing financial hardships, but just miss qualifying for the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The funding also will be used to increase the company’s contributions to its existing “Care & Share” program.