Updated: Apr 1, 2020
National Grid has asked New York regulators for permission to postpone previously approved gas and electricity delivery price increases for three months 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.”
The increases in question were approved as part of a multi-party 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.
National Grid has committed to a number of actions to keep customer and employee wellbeing 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 US 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 consumer advocates to 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.
UPDATE: National Grid has clarified that collections activities are being suspended across all customer classes – residential, commercial, and industrial. These policies will remain in effect at least until the end of April, when we will evaluate their continued need. Customers looking for more information on payment assistance programs in general can click here. (There's more information for both residential AND business customers available at that link).