Nat Grid still accepting HEAP applications
ALBANY — The National Grid reminds customers that applications are still being accepted for the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program and the Emergency HEAP program through Tuesday, while funds are available. The programs have been extended to assist customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HEAP programs provide income-eligible families assistance in paying their energy bills and offers relief for households in a heating or heating-related energy emergency. The funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and do not need to be paid back.
The level of funding varies depending on household income, household composition and heating fuel type in relation to income. The income requirement is based on the past four weeks of household income, therefore customers who may not have been eligible in the past are encouraged to apply. Customers who receive HEAP funding will be automatically enrolled in National Grid’s Energy Affordability Program, which provides monthly bill credits.
National Grid has launched an extensive outreach campaign through emails, letters, postcards, radio advertisements, traditional and social media, webinars, and outbound wellness calls to help customers manage their energy bills, take advantage of a variety of payment and billing options, and provide information on financial assistance and energy savings programs.
Because HEAP funding is limited, customers who believe they may qualify should contact HEAP immediately:
In Upstate New York, visit the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/ to determine how to apply in your area or call their local county Department of Social Services. Applications are accepted by phone or online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov. Customers age 60 and older may also call their county Office for the Aging to learn more.
There are several other programs available to National Grid customers to help manage energy costs:
— Consumer Advocates: National Grid employs consumer advocates to assist income-eligible and special needs customers facing financial hardship. Advocates are available to provide early intervention, information on a variety of assistance programs, crisis bill pay management, outreach, and education. Consumer Advocates also offer a variety of services to homebound customers. Presentations to consumer groups and agencies provide energy savings tips, health and safety information, payment options, and preparation for power outages. For more information, customers are encouraged to contact a consumer advocate:
— Upstate New York: 1-800-443-1837 or ConsumerAdvocatesUNY@nationalgrid.com.
Billing options: National Grid offers a Budget Billing Plan to help customers spread payments out more evenly across the year, which are particularly helpful to those on fixed incomes. Visit www.nationalgridus.com for more information on this and other payment programs.
— Ways to save: Visit National Grid’s website for energy efficiency programs and saving tips, a list of qualified energy services companies, and much more.
— Bill help: Learn more about bill help options in a video by National Grid employees taken from their homes.
Littlejohn noted that National Grid recognizes this is an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation and it wants to do its part to look out for its customers and protect the communities where they live and serve. The National Grid will continue to closely monitor their customers’ needs and find new ways to assist where it can.
National Grid has committed to a number of actions to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on customers. They include:
— Suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections and late payment charges.
— Committing more than $1 million across three states including New York to help support hunger relief and human services.
— Launching a proactive outreach campaign, through emails, letters, outbound calls, traditional and social media, and advertisements to help customers manage their energy bills, take advantage of a variety of payment and billing options, and provide information on financial assistance and energy savings programs. National Grid encourage customers who are struggling to pay their bills to contact them as soon as possible so they can help.
— Offering the expertise of its Consumer Advocates, who provide crisis intervention support for customers in need, working closely with county Social Services and community assistance organizations.
— Providing fast-tracked economic development support to New York businesses that are transitioning their existing facilities to produce critical medical equipment and supplies needed to support the COVID-19 response effort.
Additional details on National Grid’s pandemic preparedness, associated actions and a customer question and answer can be found at ngrid.com/covid-19.