National Grid provides restoration update and announces Small Business Assistance Program

The following press release was provided by National Grid.

National Grid announced this afternoon (at Binge BBQ) that 97% of those customers impacted by the gas supply interruption in Newport have had their meters turned back on and gas appliances re-lit by qualified technicians. By the end of today, National Grid will have visited each affected premise and is awaiting to be contacted by those remaining customers, many of who may be seasonal residents that do not reside in Newport full-time. Restoration for those customers will be completed in short order when they contact National Grid. Additionally, approximately 100 customers, including many businesses, have made arrangements with National Grid to restore their service during the upcoming work week.

As the number of customers awaiting restoration continues to diminish, National Grid is developing a demobilization strategy regarding its incident command structure. The Company  has begun releasing out of state crews and contractors but will retain sufficient Company crews to finalize the restoration efforts. National Grid urges remaining unrestored customers to contact the Company at 1-800-870-1664 to arrange restoration when their homes or businesses are ready.

“National Grid remains steadfastly committed to restoring the homes and businesses across Newport and Middletown that were impacted by this service disruption,” said Tim Horan, President, National Grid Rhode Island. “We are proud of our history of reliable service in Rhode Island and will continue to stand with the Aquidneck Island community until all of the restoration work is complete.”

To help build momentum for those businesses that were impacted by the gas service disruption, National Grid announced a commitment to fund $500,000 in need-based grants administered in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island. The grant program, will provide immediate assistance to small businesses that have been impacted by this event. National Grid continues to urge the business community to work closely with their own insurance, state and local government programs, and the Company’s established claims process to ensure the most comprehensive recovery options. National Grid and LISC will provide program specifics and an application process in the coming days through LISC’s website, www.rilisc.com.

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“Though we have spent millions in the community over the past week to provide food, shelter, and temporary heat for homeowners, we recognize our equal responsibility in supporting the business community that we are a dedicated member of,” said Terry Sobolewski, Chief Customer Office and SVP, National Grid, US. “We are now entering the economic restoration phase of this event and this grant program we launched today, in partnership with the LISC, will help impacted businesses reopen their doors and get back on their feet quickly and with efficiently.”

“This is a natural role for LISC Rhode Island to serve,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director, LISC Rhode Island. “We’re happy to support our long-standing partner in finding solutions to get funds quickly to local businesses impacted by this outage.”

National Grid has already spent millions of dollars during the gas service disruption to ensure the safety of its customers, including:

  • Deploying more than 120 customer service agents to visit every impacted home in Newport and Middletown to provide information and conduct well-being checks.
  • Offering free lodging to affected customers – either via reimbursement or through our customer representatives at Gurneys and the warming centers.
    • Over 600 hotel rooms were utilized by customers.
  • Distributing over 4,700 space heaters at no cost to help heat homes warm during restoration.
  • Providing meals at various locations and food trucks through the week,
    • 5 food trucks and restaurants provided over 6,000 free hot lunches and dinners to affected customers through National Grid’s #IslandEatsOnUs initiative.
  • Supplying over 4,200 gift cards to affected customers, at a value of over $100,000.

National Grid will continue to have a presence in the community today, providing customers with assistance and information at Gurney’s Newport Resort and the Middleton Police Station and through five community assistance vans stationed at Easton’s Beach, Kings Park, Newport Visitor’s Center, Braga Memorial School, and one roaming van.  After the Gurney’s operation closes at 5:00 PM today, there will be two customer information centers available the rest of the week at the Newport Visitors Center on America’s Cup Avenue in Newport and at the Middletown Police Station at 123 Valley Road in Middletown, RI.

While the restoration efforts continue, National Grid reminds customers never to turn on their own meters or attempt to re-light their gas appliances. This is extremely dangerous.

The Company invites customers to visit www.ngrid.com/aquidneck where they can find  updates on the restoration efforts, answers to key questions, alternative heating options, and information needed for the claims process.

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