National Grid Provides $500,000 to WNY Customers in Need Following Historic December Snowstorm

Thu, Jan 12, 2023 8:50 PM

Company will waive late fees and sponsor winter savings event on January 26 to connect Buffalo-area customers with billing options and affordability programs

National Grid will contribute $500,000 to support individuals and families in Western New York as they continue to recover from the historic blizzard that devastated the region in late December.

Funds, provided by company shareholders, will go to regional charities that offer programs to directly benefit those affected by the storm and will establish programs to support community resilience during future emergencies.

“Our crews were on the ground before, during and long after the storm to deliver to our customers,” said Rudy Wynter, president of National Grid in New York. “We recognized during the restoration process that recovering from the blizzard would be as much a humanitarian effort as resolving power outages. We said at the time that we would be here long after the lights came back on to help our customers, and this is one way we are delivering on that promise.”

National Grid worked with local, state and national partners to gain access to its facilities after December’s “bomb cyclone” brought hurricane-force winds and more than 50 inches of heavy, wet snow to the region. As part of its emergency response, the company deployed more than 3,200 power restoration experts, including line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety teams, who worked around the clock in hazardous weather conditions to restore power. service to the 108,000 affected customers.

A press release noted: “Caring for local communities, compassionately addressing customer challenges, and collaborating with community partners are the guiding principles of National Grid’s Project C initiative, which seeks to transform communities and ensure an equitable future for all customers”.

The National Grid donation will be distributed to the following organizations:

• FeedMore WNY will use National Grid funds to restock emergency food kits the group distributes to customers throughout Western New York.

The press release explained, “Travel bans and dangerous travel conditions during the snowstorm prevented FeedMore WNY staff and volunteers from delivering meals to customers. The conditions revealed the degree of food insecurity in the area as some customers went days without eating because of the storm.”

Colin Bishop, Director of Communications for FeedMore WNY, said: “FeedMore is grateful for the continued generous support of National Grid and its devoted employees. Your continued generosity enables FeedMore to carry out our mission to offer dignity, hope, and a brighter future by providing nutritious food, friendship, and skills training to our western New York neighbors in need.”

Bishop added that, for years, National Grid has been a long-standing and trusted partner, supporting the organization’s mission and the annual “Food 2 Families” food drive and fund, donating $10,000 this year.

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FeedMore WNY’s emergency food kits contain canned meats, fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, shelf-stable milk and bottled water. The organization restocked the kits both before and after the blizzard, and anticipates increased demand as FeedMore WNY enrollment grows and more severe weather events occur.

• Back to Basics Ministries responds to emergencies in Buffalo’s black and African American communities by organizing local nonprofit organizations to provide direct services to those in need.

The press release read: “National Grid’s donation will support the organization’s mobile response team, which provides food and essential items. Continued support will stabilize the communities hardest hit by the storm.”

Rev. James Giles, founder of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries Inc., said, “National Grid has been an important partner to Back to Basics and Peacemakers in response to the blizzard. Beyond restoring power, they provided food and necessities to those communities that were affected by store closures. We immensely appreciate the level of care this utility has shown and is showing.”

Additionally, on January 26, Back to Basics will host a community resource event, sponsored by National Grid, to support low-to-moderate income customers. Giles, who will also lead a food drive, will be joined by National Grid consumer advocates and community assistance experts from 10 am to 3 pm at Johnnie B. Wiley Stadium, located at 1100 Jefferson Ave. Staff from National Grid will answer questions and connect customers with assistance programs, offer payment options and discuss other solutions.

• The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and National Grid will establish a community resiliency fund that will address the immediate, short-term, and long-term needs of economically vulnerable families in the Buffalo area. Funds will also be used to help with storm recovery and create a response network for future emergencies.

“Even as their own operations continued to be affected, National Grid was already thinking about how they could help restore our Western New York community after the blizzard of 2022,” said Trina Burruss, United Way of Buffalo President and CEO. . and Erie County. “This grant, which will assist in both the immediate and long-term response, is just the latest example of National Grid’s longstanding commitment to Buffalo and Erie County.”

United Way partner agencies serving financially distressed households will use the funds to award grants of $200 to $1,000 to help clients:

√ Buy food, medicine and other essential items for the home.

√ Cover costs associated with public transportation, rideshare fees, and towing or plowing fees.

√ Pay rent and temporary shelter costs, as well as storm-related home repair costs.

United Way will also convene its network of partner agencies to create an action plan that can be implemented in future emergencies. This network includes non-profit organizations such as housing agencies, behavioral health providers, and food insecurity charities that serve communities most severely affected by crisis situations.

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• The Western New York Chapter of the American Red Cross will use the funds to support its disaster recovery programs. This includes opening shelters and making provisions for community members’ meals while their homes are being repaired, as well as providing emergency supplies, winter clothing, and emergency financial assistance to families in need.

“National Grid has time and time again demonstrated its commitment to making Western New York a better and safer community,” said Nick Bond, WNY Regional Executive Director for the American Red Cross. “Their continued partnership with the American Red Cross in our ‘Sound the Alarm’ program has helped us improve safety and home fire prevention in some of the most vulnerable areas of our community, potentially saving lives. And, as this latest post-winterstorm Elliott giveaway demonstrates, National Grid recognizes the importance of disaster preparedness and response, and supports organizations like the Red Cross to respond immediately when disasters occur.”

The press release noted: “American Red Cross staff support individuals, families and homes during disasters. Before the blizzard, he deployed teams and positioned teams in the areas that were expected to be hardest hit. As a result, the organization was able to distribute cots and blankets to municipalities and quickly open shelters with overnight accommodation and food to help the community. The organization has also distributed hats, gloves, snow shovels, and rock salt to those who live in the city of Buffalo.”

Additional Support: Waived Late Fees for Western New York Customers

National Grid customers who have experienced hardship as a result of the storm will not be charged late fees by the company for bills with due dates between December 23, 2022 and February 20, 2023. To take advantage of this program or set up a payment plan you must call 1-800-443-1837. The company also offers flexible payment options and other billing solutions through its winter customer savings initiative.

In November, to further help customers struggling to pay winter bills, National Grid shareholders provided $6 million in funding to establish the first targeted assistance programs for low- and moderate-income customers in New York. The new programs, the “Hope & Warmth Energy Fund” and “Hearts Fighting Hunger” emergency food assistance, will help families who are experiencing financial hardship, but simply don’t qualify for the California-funded Home Energy Assistance Program. the federal government. The funding will also be used to increase the company’s contributions to its existing “Care & Share” program.

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