For an additional two weeks, National Grid will extend relief to Rhode Island electricity and natural gas protected status customers who are covered by the winter service shut off moratorium. During the moratorium, which started on November 1, 2007, utility companies can not normally shut off service to protected customers. For these customers the company is extending the moratorium from the scheduled end date of April 15, 2008 to May 1, 2008.
Under regulations established by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, utility customers may have protected status if they meet any of several criteria including being elderly, handicapped, unemployed, seriously ill, receiving heating assistance funding (LIHEAP) or if there is a child in the home under 12 months of age and there is a financial hardship in the household. Approximately 34,500 National Grid customers in Rhode Island currently have protected status.
“The Company’s decision to extend the shut-off moratorium until May 1 gives customers with protected status additional time to pay utility bills and make suitable payment arrangements with our customer service representatives,” said Michael F. Ryan, vice president Government Relations, Rhode Island. “However, during the moratorium we ask that customers make an effort to pay at least a portion of the gas or electric bill.”
The moratorium will end on April 15 for all customers not in protected status.
National Grid has approximately 485,000 electric and 245,000 natural gas customers in Rhode Island.
If a customer has fallen behind in payments, Payment Plan options may be available. Customers should call National Grid at 1-800-322-3223 to find out if they qualify for plans that allow payment of an outstanding balance over a period of months.
Customers interested in learning more about Budget Plan or other payment options should log onto the National Grid web site at www.nationalgridus.com click Rhode Island - Electric or Rhode Island - Gas, and then click on Payment Options. Customers may also call National Grid at 1-800-322-3223.
National Grid is an international energy delivery company. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority. National Grid also owns 6,650 megawatts of electricity generation in New York.