Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

National Grid

March 16, 2022 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in National Grid, news, Alexander.

There are two power outages reported by National Grid in Alexander, one affecting 372 customers and the other 907.

About half of the Village of Alexander is without power and that outage area stretches down Route 98 to Attica Central School, also north to Hunn Road and east almost to West Bethany/Molasses Hill Road.

The outage affecting 907 customers is along much of Route 238 and also covers a substantial portion of Wyoming County.

Nearly all of the National Grid service area in Wyoming County (a panhandle down the middle of the county) is without power.

The power outages in Alexander started at 2:54 p.m. and are expected to be resolved by 5 p.m.

January 19, 2022 - 12:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in National Grid, power outage, batavia, news.

A power outage affecting 1,548 National Grid customers is reported in the central part of the City of Batavia.

It was first reported at 11:43 p.m.

National Grid expects to restore power by 1:45 a.m.

The outage is approximately from Tops on the west side, along West Main to Ellicott Street at Swan Street, north nearly East Avenue, cutting diagonally toward the State School for the Blind to nearly the Thruway.  It takes in both sides of Oak Street from Main to the Thruway.

UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: There are now fewer than 700 customers without power.  Power appears to have been restored to customers south of Main Street.

December 13, 2021 - 11:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in National Grid, weather, news.

Press release:

National Grid crews have restored power to 212,000, or 97%, of the nearly 221,000 upstate New York customers impacted by the severe windstorm that caused significant and widespread damage across the region over the weekend. The storm brought gusts of up to 80 mph in some regions and left behind hundreds of broken utility poles, damaged transformers, toppled trees, tree limbs and downed wires.

“While we have made steady progress, there is still work to be done and our expanded field force will continue to work around the clock to ensure every customer’s service is restored as safely and quickly as possible,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s Vice President of New York Electric Operations. He noted that the remaining outages are in regions that experienced the most extensive storm damage, including Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Orleans and Niagara counties in western New York, and Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties in northern New York.

“Our crews are in these regions continuing the hand-to-hand combat of cleanup, reconstruction and restoration. We understand the inconvenience of being without power and will continue to restore service hour by hour.”

The company is providing the following regional estimated times of restoration for customers who remain without service after the weekend storm. Power is being consistently restored to customers in these regions and ETRs are updated on the company’s Outage Central site. Additionally, customers can check on the power restoration estimate for their specific address by logging into our Report or Check an Outage page.

Northern New York: 95% of storm-related outages have been restored. Remaining single customer outages and isolated pockets of customers in the most severely impacted areas will be restored through the overnight hours and into Tuesday.

Western New York

  • Southwest Region, including Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties: Any

    remaining storm-related outages will be restored by midnight tonight.

  • Frontier Region, including Erie and Niagara counties: Restoration is expected to be

    complete by midnight tonight, with single customer outages and isolated pockets of customers in the most severely impacted areas being restored through the overnight hours and into Tuesday.

Genesee Region, including Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties: This region experienced the most extensive storm damage. Crews are in the field restoring service hour by hour and 95% of customers in these areas will have service restored by 5 p.m. Tuesday, with the remaining customers in the hardest-hit communities seeing power restored through Tuesday evening.

Customers who remain without power when their neighbors have been restored are encouraged to call National Grid at 1-800-867-5222.

Once restoration has been completed, National Grid crews will remain in the field for the days that follow to complete storm cleanup. The company reminds motorists to use caution as they approach work areas, to ensure the safety of utility and other storm-response personnel.

December 12, 2021 - 9:20pm
posted by Press Release in weather, news, National Grid.

Press release:

National Grid’s upstate New York field force of more than 3,400 workers has restored power to nearly 180,000 of the approximately 215,000 customers impacted by the powerful windstorm that swept across the region Saturday through this morning. The storm, which included gusts of up to 80 mph in some areas, brought significant and widespread damage to the company’s electricity delivery system, leaving behind at least 225 broken utility poles, 100 damaged transformers, and hundreds of toppled trees, tree limbs, and downed wires.

Among the hardest hit were areas along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, including Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Monroe, Oswego, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Crews have been working around the clock since the storm began to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

The company is providing the following general estimated times of restoration for customers who remain without service. Power is being consistently restored to customers in these regions and ETRs are updated on the company’s Outage Central site. Additionally, customers can check on the power restoration estimate for their specific address by logging into our Report or Check an Outage page.

  • Eastern New York: Restoration will be complete tonight by 11:30 p.m.
  • Central New York, including the North Country: Restoration will be complete for 90% of the affected customers by 6 p.m. Monday.
  • Western New York: Restoration will be complete for 90% of affected customers by 11:30 p.m. Monday. The company’s extensive resources, which include support from National Grid New England crews as well as crews from North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, and Ontario, will remain in the region until the last outage is repaired.

“This storm has been extremely damaging to our electricity system,” said Matt Barnett, Vice President of New York Electric Operations. “We understand the inconvenience of being without power and our crews will continue to be out there in full force bringing service back to customers as quickly as possible.”

December 12, 2021 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, weather, National Grid, news.

img_0148cityfire.jpg
National Grid and City Fire are teaming up today during the area's widespread power outages to distribute dry ice and bottled water to residents without power.

The distribution location is at City Fire headquarters on Evans Street.

img_0144cityfire.jpg

img_0146cityfire.jpg

December 11, 2021 - 3:49pm
posted by Press Release in weather, news, National Grid.

Press release:

For the second consecutive weekend, National Grid has increased staffing, extended evening and overnight work shifts, and is closely monitoring weather forecasts that include wind gusts of up to 70 mph and heavy rainfall across portions of upstate New York today into Sunday. Areas along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are expected to experience the strongest wind gusts. More than 2,500 lines, service, tree, damage assessment, and public safety workers are ready to respond to damage that may occur.

To prepare for the storm, the company activated its comprehensive emergency response plan, including:

  • Calling in outside resources and mobilizing field and tree crews.
  • Pre-staging crews and materials in areas anticipated to be most severely impacted.
  • Proactively reaching out to elected, municipal and emergency management officials to keep them updated on our preparations and provide safety information.
  • Reaching out directly to customers through traditional and social media, email and texts and on our website to provide safety information and to urge them to be prepared.
  • Conducting outbound calls to life support and critical facility customers to ensure they are prepared.
    In addition, on Sunday, Dec. 12, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., the company will distribute dry ice and bottled water at targeted locations expected to be hardest hit by the storm.

Company personnel will provide information about proper handling of dry ice, and customers are asked to bring a bag or cooler to transport it.
Western New York Dry Ice and Bottled Water Locations:

  • City of Batavia Fire Dept. 18 Evans St. Batavia, N.Y. 14020

The company also is encouraging customers to keep safety a priority with the following reminders:

Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.
  • Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.
  • Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.
  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642- 4272. In a medical emergency, always dial 911.
  • Keep working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices before the storm.
  • Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.
  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors, and others who may need assistance during an outage. Click here for details on the company’s storm preparation and restoration process.
September 14, 2021 - 12:02pm
posted by Press Release in National Grid, crime, news.

Press release:

National Grid customers and local law enforcement are reporting utility billing and payment scams across upstate New York. The company is asking its customers to beware and know the signs of a scam.

Imposters claiming to be from National Grid may tell customers that they have past due balances on their utility bills, even promising a savings on their next bill. Customers who reported the scams, say they were contacted by telephone and email, and in some cases automated recordings.

The scammers threaten that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer purchases a prepaid debit card in a specific amount, such as a Green Dot card, and provides the caller with the card’s account number, or in the case of business customers, by way of a Western Union money transfer. Imposters also may ask for a Social Security number and a National Grid account number. These calls are not officially from National Grid and instead are from scammers who are looking to obtain personal information and payments.

The scenario can change, but the goal of the scammer remains the same: scare customers into making hasty decisions that often include large payments.

National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment through the use of a prepaid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards.

Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in replicating National Grid’s recorded messaging and directions for phone prompts, even spoofing the phone number on caller ID, making it more difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call. Similar scams have been reported across the U.S. by other utilities.

Customers who believe they have fallen victim to the scam should contact local law enforcement officials immediately. If you are provided a phone number that does not match numbers on the billing statements, it is likely that the call is a scam.

National Grid reminds customers to know the red flags and offers the following tips:

  • Be vigilant. If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is highly likely a call seeking payment is a scam.

  • Protect yourself. Verify you are speaking with a National Grid representative. Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and phishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately.

  • Do not take the bait. Scammers will not have access to your account information, social security number or other personal details and you should never offer that information if asked. National Grid representatives will know your account number.

  • Scammers also may contact you by email and attempt to lure customers into clicking on a link, visiting a malicious website, revealing account information, or calling a phone number.

  • While National Grid may ask for a payment to be made over the phone, the payment method will be left to the customer’s discretion.

  • Do not fall for scare tactics and threats. National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service.

  • Do not cave to pressure. Never -- under any circumstances -- offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.

  • Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and contractors working for the company are also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or business does not show an ID card, don’t let that person in, and call National Grid or local law enforcement.

    To learn more about protecting you and your loved ones from scams, please visit ngrid.com/scam.

March 25, 2021 - 4:36pm
posted by Press Release in Gale force winds, weather, news, National Grid.

Press release:

In anticipation of gale-force winds that could exceed 60 mph beginning Friday morning in Western New York, National Grid is increasing staffing to include 1,300 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers.

The bolstered field force includes external resources and will be deployed across the region as necessary if the anticipated wind event disrupts electricity service to customers. The company will continue to closely monitor the weather forecast and has activated its comprehensive emergency response plan, which includes:

  • Securing extra resources and mobilizing field and tree crews.

  • Pre-staging crews and materials in areas anticipated to be most severely impacted.

  • Proactively reaching out to elected, municipal and emergency management officials to keep them updated on our preparations and provide safety information.

  • Reaching out directly to customers through traditional and social media, email and texts, and on our website to provide safety information and to urge them to be prepared.

  • Conducting outbound calls to life support and critical facility customers to ensure that they are prepared.

In anticipation of the adverse weather, National Grid also provides customers with the following safety reminders:

Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.

  • Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should immediately be reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 9-1-1.

  • Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxideBefore operating a generator, be sure todisconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in theelectric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.

  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1 -800-642-4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 9-1-1.)

  • Keep working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices before the storm.

  • Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.

  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

Stay Informed and Connected

  • Customers with active electricity accounts who text "REG" to 64743 can receive personalized alerts via text, email or phone call when we detect an outage on their premises. Customers also can text "OUT" to 64743 to report an outage.

  • For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit National Grid’s Outage Central website. Customers who create an online profile also can sign up for email alerts.

  • Visit our website: http://www.nationalgridus.com

December 24, 2020 - 12:14pm
posted by Press Release in news, National Grid, weather.

Press release:

National Grid is preparing for a potentially powerful winter storm that is forecasted to impact much of Upstate New York beginning today. To prepare, the company has increased its statewide staffing to include 1,900 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers.

The bolstered field force includes external resources and will be deployed as necessary, as high winds, rain and heavy snow are forecasted through Saturday for several counties in Western and Central New York, including communities east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. In Eastern New York forecasts call for wind, heavy rain and the possibility of isolated flooding.

National Grid will continue to closely monitor the weather, and has activated its comprehensive emergency response plan, including:

  • Calling in extra resources, and mobilizing field and tree crews.

  • Prestaging crews and materials in areas anticipated to be most severely impacted.

  • Proactively reaching out to elected, municipal and emergency management officials to keep them updated on our preparations and provide safety information.

  • Reaching out directly to customers through traditional and social media, email and texts and on our website to provide safety information and to urge them to be prepared.

  • Conducting outbound calls to life support and critical facility customers to ensure they are prepared.

In anticipation of the storm, the company is encouraging customers to keep safety a priority with the following reminders:

Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.

  • Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 9-1-1.

    Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.

  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642- 4272. In a medical emergency, always dial 9-1-1.

  • Keep working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices before the storm.

  • Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.

  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

Use Caution When Addressing Ice and Snow Buildup

National Grid reminds home and building owners to be especially cautious as they work to clear snow and ice by following these safety recommendations:

  • Gas customers should clear snow and ice from gas meters and regulators by gently using a snow brush or broom. Never kick, hit or use sharp objects to remove snow and ice. If a meter and/or regulator is encased in solid ice, call National Grid at 1-800-642-4272.

  • Gas customers should ensure vents for natural gas appliances are clear of snow and ice. Covered or clogged vents can lead to the build-up of poisonous carbon monoxide.

  • Customers who detect an odor of natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present in their home, should go outside immediately and breathe deeply. If CO poisoning symptoms, such as headaches or drowsiness, are severe, immediately call 9-1-1.

  • Customers experiencing gas odors or electricity emergencies should immediately callNational Grid’s emergency number: 1-800-867-5222.

  • Keep all ladders, shovels, roof rakes and other devices well clear of any service lines coming from the street to the structure.

  • Start clearing snow from the opposite end of the roof from the service point where electricity is delivered.

  • If you are unsure of how to go about clearing snow and ice, or if your roof is particularly steep, contact a qualified roofing contractor.

  • As snow is removed from the roof, be aware of what is below that could become buried as snow hits the ground. Be especially mindful of the location of your electricity and gas meters, as they could be damaged by falling snow and ice.

  • Snow removal equipment operators should also be aware of the presence of electricity and natural gas equipment and avoid coming in contact with meters or piling snow around vents and other equipment mounted on the outside of buildings.

Stay informed and connected

  • Customers with active electricity accounts who text "REG" to 64743 can have personalized alerts sent to them via text, email or phone call when we detect an outage on their properties.

  • Customers also can text "OUT" to 64743 to report an outage.

  • For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit National Grid’s Outage Central website. Customers who create an online profile also can sign up for email alerts.

  • Visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com, follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook.

December 22, 2020 - 1:47pm
posted by Press Release in National Grid, scams, crime, news.

Press release:

With the holidays in full swing and the COVID-19 pandemic causing financial stress on many individuals, National Grid is alerting customers about recent reports of scams where imposters are promising refunds or discounts.

Here’s how scammers are trying to prey on customers:

  • Customers may notice their caller ID displays an incoming call is from a phone number in a nearby town or even the neighborhood where they live.

  • When customers answer the phone, a recorded message explains that due to being overbilled, they are owed refunds or discounts on their utility bills.

  • The customer is instructed to press "1" to learn more about the refund or discount.

  • The customer is transferred to a someone who explains that the customer is eligible for a refund or discount.

  • The customer is then asked for personal information, which may include their utility bill account number.

  • The scammer also may ask for the customer’s bank account number or other personal or financial information. Divulging this level of information can lead to identity theft or customers having their bank accounts accessed.

    Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in replicating National Grid’s recorded messaging and directions for phone prompts, making it more difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid phone call from an imposter’s call. Similar scams have been reported across the United States by other utilities.

    Customers who have fallen victim to the scam should immediately contact National Grid by using the toll-free telephone numbers listed on their billing statements. The company wants to protect customers and offers the following warning signs to detect this recent scam:

  • Do not cave to pressure. Never – under any circumstances – offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.

  • Scammers will not have access to your account information, and you should never provide that information if you are asked.

  • National Grid representatives who call you will know your account number.

  • Verify that you are speaking with a National Grid representative. Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number.

  • If the caller does not know your account number, hang up the phone.

To learn more about protecting yourself and your family from scams, visit ngrid.com/scam

November 30, 2020 - 4:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in power outage, National Grid, news, byron, bergen.

More than 1,000 customers of National Grid are without power in the Byron, South Byron, and Bergen areas.

Power went out at about 4 p.m.

It's the only significant power outage in Genesee County but there are also three large outages reported just to the east in Monroe and Livingston counties.

We don't have information on what may have caused the outages.

National Grid estimates completing reports in Genesee County by 6 p.m.

UPDATE 4:34 p.m.: As soon as this was posted, the National Grid site shows that power has been restored to this area.

November 16, 2020 - 1:05pm
posted by Press Release in news, batavia, windstorm, National Grid.

Press release:

More than 1,400 National Grid line, tree and service workers in Western New York are focused on public safety and are making steady progress in removing downed wires, trees, tree limbs, broken poles and other hazards and restoring power after a severe windstorm swept across the region on Sunday.

Crews will continue to work around the clock on the labor-intensive cleanup and restoration efforts.

As of 11 a.m. fewer than 9,000 customers remain without service, primarily in the hardest hit areas, including portions of Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. The storm, with wind gusts of more than 65 mph, impacted 51,000 customers.

A spokesman for National Grid said in Genesee County there remains one customer outage Oakfield, one in Pavilion, one Stafford, and 15 in Attica, 18 total.  

Crews will continue their work in high winds and challenging conditions throughout the day to restore service to customers as quickly and safely as possible.

National Grid is distributing bottled water and dry ice to impacted customers today at the following locations:

  • Dunkirk Training Grounds, 665 Brigham Road, Dunkirk from 1 to  6 p.m.
  • JFK Recreation Center, 114 Hickory St., Buffalo from now until 6 p.m.

The company had initially planned a distribution location in Batavia. But since the number of impacted customers in that area is lower than anticipated, it was decided to concentrate the dry ice and bottled water distribution efforts in the two other areas, to help customers who need it the most.

“Storm damage across Western New York includes uprooted trees, broken poles anddowned power lines,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s vice president of New York Electric Operations.

“In addition to performing critical public safety activities, our crews are assessing damage to our system and equipment so that we can refine our restoration estimates and restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

September 29, 2020 - 4:59pm
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.

August 2, 2020 - 11:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, National Grid, COVID-19.

Press release:

National Grid is proposing up to $50 million in COVID-19 relief to support the company’s most economically vulnerable residential customers as well as businesses that are struggling because of the financial impact of the pandemic.

The company will work with New York Public Service Commission staff, customer advocates and other stakeholders to determine how best to allocate the assistance to those most in need across its upstate New York service area.

“From the onset of this pandemic we made the commitment to help our customers during these challenging times and we recognize that we have an important opportunity to provide additional customer assistance beyond what we currently offer through our COVID-19 programs and rate plans,” said John Bruckner, National Grid’s New York president.

He noted that the company will use deferral account credits to provide immediate COVID-19 financial assistance and will work with PSC staff and other parties to determine eligibility and program details. There also will be an opportunity for public input during the PSC comment period as the programs are being defined.

The company’s plan to provide additional customer assistance will be filed separately from its request to reset delivery rates beginning in July 2021 so that the customer financial support could be considered and implemented more quickly than the required 11-month rate proceeding process.

“We know our customers continue to struggle during this pandemic and this is a way for us to provide some near-term relief,” Bruckner said.

Enhanced Customer Support Programs Included in the 2021 Rate Filing

National Grid’s current three-year rate agreement expires March 31, 2021 and the company has submitted a request for new delivery prices beginning in July 2021. The new rates would cover the costs of providing service to upstate New York customers and includes enhanced energy affordability programs and services, continued deployment of economic development programs that grow the economy, and unprecedented investment in energy efficiency and demand response programs to help customers manage their energy usage and bills.

Under the proposal, residential electricity customers would see an average bill increase of 4 percent or $3.43 per month. Residential gas customers would see an average bill increase of 6 percent or $4.53 per month. The company originally planned to file a request for new rates in April but delayed that filing until July 31 due to COVID-19.

“We made the decision to delay this proposal so that we could use the time over the last few months to refine and reduce the amount of our request,” Bruckner said. “We worked hard to strike a balance between what is needed in the near term to maintain and improve reliability and further support our customers, and we postponed other initiatives to later years to lessen the financial impact on customers.”

While National Grid has filed a one-year plan, Bruckner noted the company hopes to work with PSC staff, customer advocates and other stakeholders to reach a multi-year agreement that would phase in new rates to further mitigate customer bill impacts. Reaching a settlement that spreads the increase over three years and includes deferral credits and other offsets, for example, could reduce the first-year delivery price impacts by more than half.

“We know we are not operating in a business-as-usual climate,” Bruckner said. “We will doeverything we can to work with PSC staff and other stakeholders to reach a multi-year settlement thatmaintains affordability, mitigates bill impacts and supports New York’s economic recovery. At thesame time, we need to adjust rates to cover the costs of providing service and we must remain financially healthy to attract the necessary capital to finance our operations, which will lower costs forcustomers in the long run.”

The company’s filing would impact only energy delivery prices. There are two components of an energy bill: delivery charges and supply charges. Delivery charges reflect the ongoing cost of operating and maintaining the natural gas and electricity networks – including investments to ensure a resilient grid in the face of more frequent and damaging storms and the integration of clean energy resources. Supply prices are set by the market, not National Grid, and the company does not profit from the sale of energy supply. Customers also have the option to buy their energy supply from a third-party provider.

Under New York public service law, rate cases are an 11-month process that will include a number of opportunities for public input.

National Grid’s upstate New York electricity business serves 1.6 million customers in more than 450 cities and towns across 24,000 square miles. The gas distribution business serves more than 600,000 customers across portions of Central, Northern and Eastern New York.

May 6, 2020 - 11:27am
posted by Billie Owens in scams, Fraud, crime, news, National Grid, COVID-19.

Press release:

National Grid is warning Western New York customers to beware of a new phone scam where imposters are demanding immediate bill payment and threatening service disconnection.

This latest scam, which is targeting customers already facing hardships due to COVID-19, involves callers who pretend to be National Grid representatives.

They tell customers that unless payment is made within 30 minutes, their power will be shut off. The customer is then directed to call “the direct billing department to make a payment and avoid power disconnection.”

The scammers use sophisticated phone systems that display National Grid on the customer’s caller ID.

Additionally, the phone number customers are instructed to call closely resembles the company’s recorded messaging and phone prompt directions. These elements make it difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call.

When in doubt, customers should hang up and call the National Grid customer service number on their bill.

National Grid reminds customers that on March 13, the company temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company continues to encourage customers struggling to pay their bills to take advantage of bill payment options or to call to speak with one of our Consumer Advocates.

Additional Tips to Protect Against Scams

National Grid urges customers to be cautious of scammers and offers the following tips:

  • National Grid representatives will know your account number; never offer that information to a caller.

  • Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If thecaller doesn’t know your account number, asks questions about your account balance and associated details, or if you have any doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, please take charge and immediately hang up. Call National Grid or local law enforcement officials to report the incident.

  • National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service.

  • Never -- under any circumstances -- offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.

  • For more information on scams, click here.

April 4, 2020 - 10:33am
posted by Billie Owens in National Grid, news, COVID-19.

Press release:

With so many new and unanticipated pressures at this uncertain time, we at National Grid know that you and millions of others are relying on us, now more than ever.

As you are spending more time at home, depending on us for the energy to keep your family comfortable, we take our role as an essential service provider very seriously.

To Ease Some of the Burden

It may also help to know that your energy service will continue even if you’re having trouble paying your bill at this time of disruption.

  • Your service will not be shut off if you can’t pay.
  • You won’t be charged new fees for late payment.
  • You may qualify for emergency home energy assistance grants. Visit ngrid.com/discount.
  • Your regular billing and due dates remain unchanged. We offer assistance programs and options providing more time to pay. For help, click here.

These policies will remain in effect through at least the end of April.

If you are struggling to pay your bill, please let us know. We encourage you to reach out to our consumer advocates and your local government and community organizations, many of whom we are working together with to provide support.

Helping You Save

Your energy use may also increase and we want to help you manage that. A variety of tips and resources are available at ngrid.com/save. In the meantime, here are a few simple suggestions to get you started at home:

  • Lower your water heater setting to 120 degrees.
  • Turn off lights and appliances, TVs, stereos and computers when not in use.
  • Dry only full loads of laundry – remember to clean the lint filter.
  • Turn on your dishwasher’s energy-saver switch to use less water and lower water heating bills.

We’re in this together.

Please continue doing business with us at your convenience online. To set up an account for the first time, visit this regional link:

Upstate New York

You can still reach us by calling the number on your bill. We are ready to serve you. As we’ve adapted, many of our customer service agents are currently working from home. You may experience longer wait times or hear some occasional background noise; we ask for your understanding.

We are Here for You When You Need Us

Your health and safety, and that of our employees, is paramount. We’ve had to modify our operations as we are working hard to supply energy to homes and businesses.

We will continue to provide critical services you count on:

  • Responding to emergencies
  • Performing essential maintenance and safety inspections
  • Requests for critical issues, including turning on service
  • Ensuring reliable service to you and all customers

Nonessential work, requiring us to enter your home or business, has been put on hold:

  • Some planned maintenance
  • Manual meter reads
  • Energy efficiency services

Our crews are taking additional precautionary measures, practicing social distancing and following CDC guidelines. If you have a scheduled appointment with us for a critical service, please call if you wish to postpone or if anyone in your home is ill or quarantined. We can assist you with rescheduling.

Please stay connected with us. Visit online here to find updates on our services, our COVID-19 pandemic response plan efforts, and FAQs to assist you as you navigate this difficult time.

We are here for you and all our customers across the communities in which we live and are proud to serve.

March 24, 2020 - 11:43am
posted by Billie Owens in COVID-19, news, National Grid.

Press release:

National Grid has taken another step to reduce the coronavirus’ financial strain and economic uncertainty on Upstate New York customers by deferring a bill increase that was scheduled to take effect April 1.

The company has asked New York regulators for permission to postpone the previously approved gas and electricity delivery price increases in recognition of the unprecedented hardships the COVID-19 outbreak continues to bring to families across the region.

“We have made the commitment to help our customers through these challenging times and this is another step on that journey,” said Badar Khan, National Grid’s Interim U.S. president. “We will continue to closely monitor our customers’ needs during the pandemic and find new ways to assist where we can.”

In today’s filing, National Grid requested a three-month delay in implementing the increases that were approved as part of a multiparty agreement to reset electricity and gas delivery prices.

The agreement calls for an approximately 4-percent increase in electricity bills and a 5-percent increase in natural gas bills to support investments in infrastructure safety and integrity, and enhancements to energy efficiency and other customer-focused initiatives.

The Company has asked for those increases, as well as a required April 1 update to the low-income customer credit that would reduce the currently available discount to qualifying customers, to be delayed until July 1.

National Grid also has asked that the Public Service Commission defer until the summer any rate increases in the pending gas rate cases for Downstate New York.

Our Continuing Customer Commitment

             National Grid has committed to a number of actions to keep customer and employee well-being and safety the priority during the international pandemic. They include:

  • Suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections and late payment charges, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on customers.
  • Dedicating $500,000 to community-based organizations across its U.S. business to help support many of the basic customer and community needs being interrupted.
  • Encouraging customers who are struggling to pay their National Grid bill to take advantage of a variety of payment and billing options designed to make transactions easy and convenient. 
  • Offering the expertise of our Consumer Advocates, who provide crisis intervention support for customers in need, working closely with county Social Services and community assistance organizations.

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

March 19, 2020 - 6:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in National Grid, COVID-19, news.

Press release:

As conditions evolve with the COVID-19 pandemic, National Grid is providing an update on its services. 

Ensuring the health and safety of our customers and our employees remains our top priority. We will continue to focus on delivering essential customer services, while temporarily suspending nonessential work. 

Services Continuing

  • Emergency response – As always, please contact us for all gas and electricity-related emergencies.
  • Electricity and gas service – We have a comprehensive emergency response plan in place to keep the lights on and the gas flowing.
  • Customer-requested service – We will continue to respond as usual to essential customer needs, such as turning on or off gas or electric services (i.e., for customer moves) — 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 accounts online. We offer a variety of  payment and billing options designed to make transactions easy and convenient. 

Services Temporarily Paused

  • Collections activities & disconnections – We have temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections. Customers needing assistance, can view our help making payments page for more information or call to speak with one of our Customer Advocates. Note: Call wait times may be longer than usual.
  • Non-essential 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. 
  • Non-essential electric & gas related services – Planned maintenance and services such as manual meter reads, oil-to-gas conversions, gas service upgrades, and meter changes, may decrease the ability to keep social distance. You will be notified of appointment cancellations. 
  • 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. For additional payment options, visit ngrid.com/billpay. If you are a cash paying customer, please visit a Western Union location.

We appreciate your attention to this information and value your support. For updates and information on this evolving situation, please continue to visit our website regarding COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Gregory Knight 
Chief Customer Officer

March 19, 2020 - 5:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in National Grid, news, high winds, weather.

Press release:

National Grid is increasing staffing and closely monitoring Friday’s weather forecast (March 20), which calls for high winds, with gusts of up to 60 mph, across portions of Upstate New York. The company’s field force is at normal staffing levels and remains at the ready if the storm impacts service. Customers are encouraged to keep safety a priority with the following reminders:

           Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.

  • Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed power lines should immediately be reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 9-1-1.

  • Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxideBefore operating a generator, be sure todisconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in theelectric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.

  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642-4272. In a medical emergency, always dial 9-1-1.

  • Keep working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices before the storm.

  • Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.

  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

    Stay informed and connected

    Information on National Grid’s pandemic preparedness and a customer Q&A can be found here.

  • Customers with active electricity accounts who text "REG" to 64743 can have personalized alerts sent to them via text, email or phone call when we detect an outage on their properties.

  • Customers also can text "OUT" to 64743 to report an outage.

  • For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit National Grid’s Outage Central website. Customers who create an online profile also can sign up for email alerts.

  • Visit our website.

March 18, 2020 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in COVID-19, news, National Grid.

Press release:

National Grid is directing $500,000 to support customers affected by the health impacts, financial hardships and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will provide immediate relief to families and individuals in need and bolster efforts by local organizations to assist communities across Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.

"We are committed to helping our customers through the difficult times and unchartered challenges associated with this pandemic," said Badar Khan, National Grid’s interim U.S. president. “We recognize this is an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation. We want to do our part to look out for our customers and protect the communities where we live and serve.”

A portion of the funds will be dedicated directly to National Grid’s customers experiencing financial hardship. The Company will also work with community-based organizations and funds to help support many of the basic needs being interrupted.

The following represents a sampling of some of the programs and funds that will be targeted:

  • The United Way Rhode Island Crisis Fund 
  • The Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund 
  • Boston Resiliency Fund
  • The United Way of Central MA "We Care Fund"
  • Island Harvest on Long Island
  • The United Way and other organizations across our New York footprint

In addition, National Grid has taken the following steps to further protect the safety and well-being of our customers and employees: 

  • Suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on customers;
  • Encouraging customers who are struggling to pay their National Grid bill to contact the company as soon as possible for assistance;
  • Offering the expertise of our Consumer Advocates, who provide crisis intervention support for customers in need, working closely with state and county Social Services and community assistance organizations;
  • Requiring our employees to take precautionary measures before entering a customer’s home to limit exposure to our customers and our workforce.   

“Ensuring the health and safety of our employees and customers is our number one priority,” Khan said. “We have a comprehensive emergency response plan in place to keep the lights on and the gas flowing for our customers. Our pandemic team is meeting daily and we’re closely monitoring all developments associated with this evolving and complex situation.”

Khan noted that the Company also is sharing its preparedness plans with regulators, federal, state and local officials, emergency response organizations, customers and other key stakeholders. Additional information on National Grid’s pandemic preparedness and a customer Q&A can be found here.

“We will continue to closely monitor our customers’ needs during the pandemic and find new ways to assist where we can,” Khan said.

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

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

blue button

News Break