Special to the Times-Free Press
National Grid is urging customers facing rising winter energy bills to consider company-offered programs that can spread bills across several months and explore payment assistance programs offered by state and federal agencies and regional non-profits.
The effort is part of National Grid’s Winter Customer Savings Initiative, which was launched last month to help customers reduce their energy use and save money, manage their bills, and secure available energy assistance.
The initiative brings together and expands National Grid’s many customer resources, including numerous payment assistance programs for income-eligible customers, extensive residential and business energy efficiency programs and incentives, low-cost and no-cost bill management solutions, and flexible payment programs.
One of the bill management programs offered by National Grid includes the Budget Plan. The Budget Plan is designed to take the guesswork out of the monthly billing process. The program takes the amount customers usually pay on their National Grid bills in a year and breaks that amount into twelve balanced monthly payments to help offset high seasonal bills. Customers will still pay only for the total amount of energy they use in a year, but the Budget Plan makes it easier to anticipate monthly energy costs and plan household budgets. For more information customers may view the Even Payments-Making Budgeting Easier brochure.
Along with this, National Grid will refer income-eligible families and customers needing special assistance to meet their energy needs. Programs include but are not limited to:
• The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), also known as the Fuel Assistance Program, helps income- eligible households pay their heating bills with federally funded grants.
• Discount Rates where qualifying income-eligible customers may receive a discounted rate on electric and gas service, as well as no-cost energy efficiency upgrades.
• The Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund is available to any Massachusetts residents who, because of temporary financial difficulty, cannot meet a month’s energy expense and is not eligible for state or federal energy assistance
Last week, National Grid announced the company is committing $17 million in philanthropic funding to local community and philanthropic support organizations. The funds will be distributed through National Grid and the National Grid Foundation to existing networks and community partners across Massachusetts and New York that are set up to help individuals, families and communities who need it most. As part of this philanthropic funding, earlier this week National Grid in New England announced that the first $1 million of those funds would be distributed to three Massachusetts brands of the United Way and the Good Neighbor Energy Fund.