As the area’s electricity provider, the company has launched an extensive outreach effort during the restoration process
WALTHAM, MA – National Grid has launched an extensive outreach effort in the Merrimack Valley, providing additional resources, streamlined processes and enhanced engagement opportunities to assist its electric customers impacted by the Columbia Gas incident last month.
The Sept. 13 fires left thousands of Columbia Gas customers in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover without natural gas service. Until Columbia Gas is able to restore service, many customers may utilize electric appliances more than normal. National Grid is the electricity provider for these communities.
“We have been with our customers since the beginning of this event and will continue to offer assistance during the recovery efforts,” said National Grid SVP and Chief Customer Officer Terry Sobolewski. “The affected families in these communities need support during the restoration process. It’s important to us that we do our part to help alleviate some of the pressures they’re facing during this critical time.”
To help meet concerns about the potential for higher electric bills, National Grid has been on the ground in the communities, enrolling eligible customers into our low-income electricity rate, distributing LED lightbulbs, sharing messages about electric appliance safety and providing information on energy efficiency programs. The company is making bilingual information and application forms available at ngrid.com/merrimackvalley and will host a Customer Assistance Expo Tuesday Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence.
National Grid is grateful for organizations that have come forward and supplied impacted customers with alternate ways to heat their homes.
“National Grid responded to the emergency quickly by making the form easy to sign up on with a cell phone or on a computer and providing outreach,” said Audrey Schulman, executive director of HEET, an energy efficiency nonprofit.
The Customer Assistance Expo next week will feature representatives from several agencies and community organizations, including the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Catholic Charities and the Greater Lawrence Health Center. Attendees will be connected with financial assistance experts from the various organizations, including bilingual representatives from National Grid.
The company is working with multiple organizations throughout the Merrimack Valley to ensure that assistance applications, in both English and Spanish, are widely available and are acted upon in an expedited manner.
“This is great news for families trying to make ends meet,” Schulman said.
National Grid’s assistance has extended beyond the current outreach efforts. After the event, the company worked under the direction of local officials to shut off electricity service as a safety precaution, and restored power as quickly as possible. Our work in the field continues, as we monitor our electric system to ensure abnormal conditions do not exist due to additional demand.
Last month, the company donated $100,000, split equally between the Greater Lawrence Relief Fund of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and the Disaster Relief Fund of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts.
During the first days of the incident, when there was a need to shut off 8,600 gas meters, National Grid helped exceed the request for mutual aid, deploying hundreds of gas workers from across Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. Though there are no current requests to neighboring utilities for mutual aid, the company remains committed to providing assistance as needed.
For information on assistance programs, energy savings, safety tips and links to application forms, please visit ngrid.com/merrimackvalley.