Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

September 29, 2020 - 4:59pm

National Grid files proposal for up to $50 million in COVID-19 relief for qualifying Upstate customers

posted by Press Release in COVID-19, news, National Grid.

Press release:

SYRACUSE -- National Grid today filed a customer assistance proposal with its New York regulator that would provide up to $50 million in financial assistance to support its most economically vulnerable residential customers as well as businesses that are struggling because of the pandemic’sfinancial impact.

The company sought input from the New York State Department of Public Service staff, customer advocates and other stakeholders to design the programs and determine how best to allocate the assistance to those most in need.

“Six months into the pandemic, the economic recovery remains relatively flat and unemployment rates are increasing sharply in the COVID-19 recession," said John Bruckner, National Grid’s New York president. "National Grid’s relief package offers an important opportunity to provide our customers with financial assistance to lessen their hardship beyond what we currently offer through our existing COVID-19 programs and services.”

Bruckner noted that funding for the programs will be targeted to customers who are in arrears and/or unable to pay their energy bills due to financial hardship stemming from the pandemic.

“By redeploying existing customer funds to programs carefully designed to address identified economic hardships, we believe our proposed programs will help with the financial difficulties currently being experienced by our customers,” he said.

  • Programs Offer Additional Support for Economically Vulnerable Residential Customers

    National Grid’s proposal includes up to $25 million in funding for two new programs forresidential customers enrolled in the company’s Energy Assistance Program. Participants in the EAP are among the company’s most vulnerable customers, facing financial hardships that could require them to choose between paying their energy bills and other necessities. The company believes that bill credits are the best tool for providing immediate assistance to help these customers manage their energy costs.
    Program Highlights:

    Enhanced Economic Development Programs

    For National Grid’s business customers, the company’s proposal includes up to $25 million for a new arrears forgiveness plan and two enhanced economic development grant programs.

  • Program Highlights:

    1. Under the proposal, EAP customers would receive an immediate, one-time bill credit on both the gas and electricity portions of their bills.

    2. Customers enrolled in EAP who also have a Deferred Payment Agreement will receive up to 12 monthly arrears incentive payments if they honor that agreement, which requires paying their current bill and a monthly installment toward their past due balance.

    3. If there are any funds remaining in this program after 12 months, the balance will be shared as a final one-time bill credit for all EAP customers.

    4. Upon implementation, distressed business customers who enroll in a Deferred Payment Agreement under the program’s guidelines, will receive a bill credit on a portion of their arrears if they are current on their DPA.

    5. These customers may receive a second bill credit on a portion of their arrears upon completion of their DPA.

    6. A new COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Grant Program that offers grants to large commercial and industrial customers for eligible recovery-related expenses, including personal protective equipment, environmental health and safety measures, interest expenses associated with pandemic-related loans, and machinery and equipment costs.

    7. Further enhancing the existing Manufacturing Productivity Program so that qualifying small- and medium-sized business can apply for funds to support COVID-19 recovery and future resiliency, including business continuity planning, enterprise risk management, and support for employee/environmental health and safety. The funding would remain available through August or until program funding is depleted.

    8. Bruckner noted that while New York State and the federal government have taken measures to assist residents and businesses during this unprecedented time, the duration of the pandemic is unknown, and the impacts are difficult to predict. “We believe that additional assistance is necessary for our customers. Our proposal is a way for us to provide crucial near-term relief,” he said.

      Continuing Customer Commitment

      National Grid remains focused on providing solutions to customers who are suffering from thepandemic’s financial and personal impacts. Some of the immediate actions the company took at the onset of the pandemic to help customers include:

      • Donating nearly $1 million across New York to support hunger relief, human services agencies and others.

      • Pausing residential disconnections and fees, late payment charges and collections-related activities and offering flexible payment plans.

      • Launching extensive customer outreach through emails, letters, traditional and digital media, webinars, and calls to provide information on managing energy bills, offer flexiblepayment and billing options, and provide details on financial assistance and energy savings programs. We encourage customers who are struggling to pay their bills to contactus as soon as possible so that we can help.

      • Offering the expertise of our Consumer Advocates to provide crisis intervention support for customers, working closely with county Social Services and community assistance organizations.

      • Providing enhanced economic development support to New York businesses producing critical pandemic supplies.

        Additional details on National Grid’s pandemic preparedness, associated actions and a customer Q&A can be found at ngrid.com/covid-19.

      • Key Highlights

      • Up to $25 million for low income customers enrolled in the Energy Assistance Program with immediate bill credits and up to 12 monthly arrears incentive payments.

      • Up to $20 million in arrears incentive payments for business customers.

      • Up to $5 million for new COVID-19 recovery assistance grants for commercial, industrial and small business customers.

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break