As situation evolves, companies are taking measures to protect customers and employees, while providing safe and reliable service
BINGHAMTON, NY — March 17, 2020 — NYSEG and RG&E, AVANGRID companies, announced today that they are taking several measures to protect customers and employees as current Coronavirus situation evolves.
The companies, which previously announced they would temporarily suspend service shut-offs due to non-payment, also announced today that they will take the following actions to protect both customers and employees. Those actions include:
- Effective immediately both NYSEG and RG&E are suspending all inside meter readings and shifting to estimated usage or customer reported readings. Customers are encouraged to submit meter readings through the companies’ mobile app.
- NYSEG and RG&E walk-in centers will be closed indefinitely as of March 17. Customers can continue to communicate with the companies via their website, mobile app or by calling the customer service contact number listed on their bill. Customers can also make a payment at one of our authorized pay agents, including Wal-Mart or K-Mart. A list of authorized agents may be found at nyseg.com > account > ways to pay > pay in person.
- NYSEG and RG&E are suspending late-payment charges beginning this Tuesday evening.
NYSEG and RG&E join the rest of the AVANGRID organization in taking steps to protect employees and customers while ensuring 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 Carl A. Taylor, President and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “We began communicating with our employees more than a month ago to reinforce preventative actions such as hand washing guidelines and ways to avoid spreading infection that are now part of everyday conversations worldwide. 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.”
Additional 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:
- 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.
- Whenever possible, creating a work environment where employees can keep a safe distance from one another.
- Working with regulators as appropriate to limit noncritical work.
Supporting emergency services and hospitals.
- Outreach and coordination with local, state and federal emergency response officials.
- Outreach to major hospitals to help ensure uninterrupted service.
- Inspection and conducting preventative maintenance on key circuits that serve emergency services and hospitals.
Options for customers to help manage their accounts.
- You can use our new mobile app to report outages, check and pay account balances, and submit meter readings. To download the application, customers should search “AVANGRID” in the Apple or Android app stores and select “NYSEG” or “RG&E”. The application is free to download.
- Customers can still make credit card payments, check balances and find other information at nyseg.com and rge.com.
- Additionally, customers can call customer care representatives to find out account information: NYSEG customers can call 800.572.1111; RG&E customers can call 800.743.2110.
“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 reliable uninterrupted service,” said Taylor. “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.”