2009-05-15 / Top Stories

National Grid Offers New Payment Options

During these challenging economic times, National Grid reminds its Long Island and Rockaway Peninsula customers about the range of payment programs and financial assistance available. At the first sign of difficulty, customers who believe they may be unable to make their bill payments should contact National Grid at 1-800- 930-5003. National Grid employs a team of Consumer Advocates who are also available to assist low-income and special needs customers who may be facing financial hardship. Consumer Advocates will provide early intervention, information on a variety of assistance programs, crisis bill paying management, outreach and education.

National Grid also offers a variety of what it terms "helpful programs and payment options", including:

Balanced Billing — National Grid's Balanced Billing plan helps to spread payments out more evenly across the year. This is particularly helpful to those on fixed incomes. Customer sign-up is free of charge, and participants may choose to cancel at any time. To find out your proposed Balanced Billing plan amount or enroll, call 1-800-930-5003 or visit www.nationalgrid.com.

Deferred Payment Agreement — If you've fallen behind on your payments and cannot pay your bill in full, you may qualify to pay the past-due balance over time. After National Grid determines that you qualify for deferred payment and reviews your financial circumstances, it could offer you the opportunity to pay a specific amount toward your past-due balance each month.

Residential Reduced Rate — You may be eligible for a reduction in the "Gas Delivery Charge" on your bill if you receive one or more of the following: Home Energy Assistance Program funding, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Public Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, Veteran's Disability Pension, Veteran's Surviving Spouse Pension, or Child Health Plus.

On Track Program — National Grid's 18-month low-income arrears forgiveness program for residential heating customers provides financial assistance and education to help customers, with a past-due balance, resolve financial difficulties. In order to qualify you must have a one or two family gas heating account in your name, be currently responsible for paying your gas bill, not have been enrolled in On Track in the previous program year, and meet certain income guidelines.

Additional assistance is available through Project Warmth of Long Island, a community-based partnership between National Grid, local businesses and not-for-profit agencies. Project Warmth, administered by the United Way of Long Island, provides heating assistance funds to qualified applicants whether or not they are National Grid customers, and regardless of which fuel they use to heat their homes. Eligibility for assistance is based on New York State HEAP income guidelines (for example: the monthly gross income limit for a family of 4 is $3,776). Project Warmth is designed to help Long Island families suffering from recent financial hardships to meet their heating needs. To determine if you are eligible for Project Warmth, please contact the United Way of Long Island.

National Grid Consumer Advocates can also connect customers with additional agencies that provide bill payment assistance. In addition, upon request, Consumer Advocates will provide a variety of services to homebound customers, and provide presentations to consumer groups and agencies on energy-saving tips, health and safety issues, and payment options.

For more information on available programs and payment options, visit www.nationalgridus.com. For moneysaving tips and energy efficiency information, visit www.thinksmartthinkgreen. com.

National Grid is an international energy delivery company. In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.

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