Hicksville, NY - August 20, 2014 - Imposters and scammers are posing as utility employees and robbing customers on Long Island and in Queens at their doors and over the phone. National Grid has put its employees and contractors on heightened alert and reminds customers to do the same to ensure safety and security.
Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and any contractor doing work for the company is also required to carry a National Grid ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show an ID card, don’t let them in and call National Grid at 1-800-930-5003 for Nassau, Suffolk County and the Rockaway Peninsula or 718-643-4050 for Brooklyn, Staten Island and parts of Queens. If customers feel there is an immediate danger, they should call 911.
National Grid has implemented a successful pilot program in several towns and neighborhoods contacting customers before a meter reader comes to their home. National Grid has worked with Senator Schumer on getting the word out. However, National Grid’s long term solution to customer privacy and security lies in the roll-out of its Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) program. This program would allow for monthly meter readings to be collected by driving by a customer’s home without accessing the property.
“We want our customers to be safe and secure when they require service from National Grid and are reminding our employees and contractors of our strict security protocols,” said Ken Daly, President, National Grid New York. “It is unfortunate that scammers are targeting utility customers; we remind customers to always check for identification before allowing anyone into their homes.”
National Grid employees and contractors have visible photo identification badges with the company logo and wear uniforms with the company name and logo when conducting routine or emergency services for residences and businesses. They also travel in clearly marked National Grid vehicles. The company has the following operating procedures currently in place for our service technicians and meter readers should they require access to customers’ homes:
- An approximate date of the forthcoming meter reading is included in the bill.
- Meter readings occur between a four day consecutive billing window, and a National Grid representative can arrive during business hours on one of those 4 days.
- Meter readers, while company contractors, also carry company identification, and their uniforms, hats and vehicles are co-branded.
- Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology is currently being installed throughout Long Island over the next 18 months. This $50M investment will enhance customer service and security by eliminating about 3.5 million visits to homes a year to manually read gas meters. National Grid already has AMR installed in many parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
- For scheduled appointments, service technicians will call customers in advance.
- When investigating a leak or some other issue of concern, the service technician may be led to a home or business that did not report it, but will always be traveling in clearly marked National Grid vehicles, and wearing hats and vests with the company’s logo.
Recently, there also have been telephone-based scams by people identifying themselves as utility company employees demanding immediate payment for bill balances. The fraudulent callers threaten customers with immediate service shut-off unless they provide payment, credit card or bank account information that can be used to access the accounts.
National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options and to remind them that service shutoff is a possibility if they fail to pay their past due balance. If customers wish, they can arrange for a payment by check, credit card, or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative. Payment can also be made by credit card or debit card without a representative’s assistance.
Customers should verify they are speaking with a National Grid representative. Customers should have the last five digits of their National Grid account number and ask the caller to provide those numbers. If the caller can’t provide the information; or the customer has any doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, they should hang up immediately and call the customer contact center.
National Grid urges customers to be cautious when speaking with callers. Never arrange payment or divulge account, personal or financial information over the telephone, unless you are certain that you are speaking with an authorized National Grid representative.
“We are committed to doing all that we can to help keep our customers safe,” Daly added. “We work closely with local law enforcement on these issues; provide fraud alert information on our website, through social media and in our customer bills. In addition, we encourage families to check on elderly relatives and friends who are often targets of such schemes, to make sure they have not fallen victim to this fraud.”
For natural gas safety tips click here.
About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.
In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.
National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
For more information please visit our website.