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National Grid directing $500K for pandemic

National Grid employees work on a project Wednesday off West Green Street in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — National Grid announced this week it is directing $500,000 to support customers affected by the health impacts, financial hardships and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding will provide immediate relief to families and individuals in need and bolster efforts by local organizations to assist communities across New York state, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

“We are committed to helping our customers through the difficult times and unchartered challenges associated with this pandemic,” said Badar Khan, National Grid’s interim U.S. president. “We recognize this is an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation. We want to do our part to look out for our customers and protect the communities where we live and serve.”

A portion of the funds will be dedicated directly to National Grid’s customers experiencing financial hardship. The utility company will also work with community-based organizations and funds to help support many of the basic needs being interrupted. The following represents a sampling of some of the programs and funds that will be targeted: The United Way Rhode Island Crisis The Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund, Boston Resiliency Fund, The United Way of Central MA ‘We Care Fund, Island Harvest on Long Island, The United Way and other organizations across our New York footprint.

In addition, National Grid has taken the following steps to further protect the safety and well-being of our customers and employees:

Suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on customers

Encouraging customers who are struggling to pay their National Grid bill to contact the company as soon as possible for assistance.

Offering the expertise of our Consumer Advocates, who provide crisis intervention support for customers in need, working closely with state and county Social Services and community assistance organizations.

Requiring our employees to take precautionary measures before entering a customer’s home to limit exposure customers and National Grid workforce.

“Ensuring the health and safety of our employees and customers is our number one priority,” Khan said. “We have a comprehensive emergency response plan in place to keep the lights on and the gas flowing for our customers. Our pandemic team is meeting daily and we’re closely monitoring all developments associated with this evolving and complex situation.”

Khan noted National Grid is also sharing its preparedness plans with regulators, federal, state and local officials, emergency response organizations, customers and other key stakeholders. Additional information on National Grid’s pandemic preparedness and a customer Q&A can be found at ngrid.com/covid-19.

“We will continue to closely monitor our customers’ needs during the pandemic and find new ways to assist where we can,” Khan said.

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