As crisis unfolds, AVANGRID companies are taking measures to protect customers and employees, and ensure business and service continuity
ORANGE, Conn. — March 17, 2020 — United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, subsidiaries of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), announced today that they will suspend late fees and disconnection fees, and waive deposit requirements to help customers who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
The companies, which previously announced they would suspend service shut-offs of residential customers for nonpayment, also announced today that they will expand that policy to include business customers, recognizing the financial difficulties that many of Connecticut’s residents and businesses are already beginning to experience.
UI, SCG and CNG join the rest of the AVANGRID organization in taking steps to protect employees and customers, and ensure continuity of essential electric and gas service during the coronavirus pandemic.
“During this pandemic, ensuring the health and safety of our employees is paramount to our ability to continue to safely deliver reliable electric and gas service to our customers across our operating companies,” said Tony Marone, CEO of Avangrid Networks, parent of the three Connecticut companies. “We began communicating with our employees more than a month ago to reinforce preventative actions such as hand washing and ways to avoid spreading infection that are now part of everyday conversations worldwide.”
Marone continued, “Since then, we have taken a number of measures to limit exposure to our people and to protect our operations and the customers we serve. We have activated our emergency response and business continuity plans and are working with local, state and federal emergency response officials to make sure that we are providing whatever support is needed in this unprecedented and rapidly changing situation.”
Steps the companies have taken include:
Preventing infection among employees and customers.
- Restricting non-employee visitors to all sites.
- Restricting all travel unless critical to maintaining operations.
- Instructing employees who are equipped to work from home, and whose role allows it, to do so until further notice.
- For those employees who cannot work from home, the company is taking measures to enable social distancing, which includes:
- Suspension of in home meter reading and shift to estimated usage or customer-reported usage in those instances.
- Whenever possible, creating a work environment where employees can keep a safe distance from one another.
- Establishing staggered shifts and cross-training of employees to prevent staff shortages in critical areas, including customer service.
- Isolating energy control center and energy trading staff and limiting their contact with other employees in the workplace.
- Having field personnel assemble in small teams or as single workers to minimize physical interactions.
- Establishing a call screening process in customer service to defer nonessential work and limit potential exposure for our employees and customers.
- Providing guidelines for field personnel around how they can protect themselves and customers when they must enter a residence.
- Working with regulators as appropriate to limit noncritical work.
Addressing the potential financial impacts of an extended public health crisis on customers.
- All Avangrid Networks companies have announced suspension of service shut offs for nonpayment, and they have begun communicating with customers about programs and resources that can help customers manage bills and reduce energy usage.
Supporting emergency services and hospitals.
- Outreach and coordination with local, state and federal emergency response officials.
- Outreach to major hospitals to help prevent service interruptions.
- Inspection and conducting preventative maintenance on key circuits that serve emergency services and hospitals.
“We understand that this situation is going to get worse before it gets better and we want our customers to know we are taking the steps to ensure uninterrupted service,” said James P. Torgerson, CEO of AVANGRID, Inc. “Challenging emergency situations are not new to us and we have robust plans in place. We are ready and our people are ready to do their job to keep these essential services going. I am very proud of their dedication.”
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About UI: The United Illuminating Company (UI) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1899, UI operates approximately 3,500 miles of electric distribution lines and 139 miles of transmission lines. It serves approximately 335,000 customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. UI received the Edison Electric Institute’s Emergency Recovery Award recognizing the company’s response to the May 2018 storms that impacted its service territory. For more information, visit www.uinet.com.
About SCG: The Southern Connecticut Gas Company (SCG) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1847, SCG operates approximately 2,500 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines, serving approximately 197,000 customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. For more information, visit www.soconngas.com.
About CNG: Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation (CNG) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1848, CNG operates 2,160 miles of natural gas distribution pipeline, serving approximately 177,000 customers across 26 communities in the greater Hartford-New Britain area, and Greenwich, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.cngcorp.com.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $34 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. With headquarters in Orange, Connecticut, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,600 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 and 2020 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
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