National Grid To Delay Price Increases
National Grid has taken another step to reduce the coronavirus’ financial strain and economic uncertainty on upstate New York customers by deferring a bill increase that was scheduled to take effect April 1.
The company has asked New York regulators for permission to postpone the previously approved gas and electricity delivery price increases in recognition of the unprecedented hardships the COVID-19 outbreak continues to bring to families across the region.
“We have made the commitment to help our customers through these challenging times and this is another step on that journey,” said Badar Khan, National Grid’s Interim U.S. President. “We will continue to closely monitor our customers’ needs during the pandemic and find new ways to assist where we can.”
In this week’s filing, National Grid requested a three-month delay in implementing the increases that were approved as part of a multi-party agreement to reset electricity and gas delivery prices. The agreement calls for an approximately 4% increase in electricity bills and a 5% increase in natural gas bills to support investments in infrastructure safety and integrity, and enhancements to energy efficiency and other customer-focused initiatives. The company has asked for those increases, as well as a required April 1 update to the low-income customer credit that would reduce the currently available discount to qualifying customers, to be delayed until July 1.
National Grid also has asked that the Public Service Commission defer until the summer any rate increases in the pending gas rate cases for downstate New York.
National Grid has committed to a number of actions to keep customer and employee wellbeing and safety the priority during the international pandemic. They include:
¯ suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections and late payment charges, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on customers;
¯ dedicating $500,000 to community-based organizations across its U.S. business to help support many of the basic customer and community needs being interrupted;
¯ encouraging customers who are struggling to pay their National Grid bill to take advantage of a variety of payment and billing options designed to make transactions easy and convenient.
¯ offering the expertise of our consumer advocates, who provide crisis intervention support for customers in need, working closely with county Social Services and community assistance organizations;
¯ additional details on National Grid’s pandemic preparedness, associated actions and a customer Q&A can be found at ngrid.com/covid-19.