Recipients of NYSEG and RG&E COVID-19 Business Grants Play Vital Roles in Local Communities

Funds still available for eligible businesses which can receive up to $50,000 in grant assistance

BINGHAMTON, NY — July 1, 2022 — New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) today announced that funding is still available for business customers through the companies’ COVID-19 Economic Relief Program. Eligible businesses with costs related to COVID-19 after March 15, 2020 can apply for up to $50,000 in grant assistance. The assistance is designed to retain businesses and jobs during these difficult times by promoting the economic recovery of New York businesses that incurred costs due to the pandemic.

Many businesses from the communities NYSEG and RG&E serve have already taken advantage of the program. Special Touch Bakery in Rochester is just such an example and their importance to the community goes far beyond the pies they make. The 20,000-square-foot commercial-grade bakery not only makes pies for wholesale and retail customers across the country but also provides meaningful employment to people of all abilities. The enterprise is an integrated operation where people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities work side-by-side to refine their baking skills and produce product.

“During the pandemic, like for most employers, there were all sorts of challenges to tackle, and the issues kept morphing,” said Donna Dedee, president and CEO of Special Touch Bakery. “Through it all, we knew we had to keep our manufacturing operation going to meet customers’ needs and ensure our valued bakers kept getting a paycheck; this grant was a terrific help to the operation in uncertain times and RG&E was an amazing partner, making the application process seamless and simple.”

Another business receiving a grant from the COVID-19 Economic Relief Program is NYSW Beverage Brands in Halcott Center, New York. The family-owned beverage company bottles mineral and alkaline water directly at the source in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York. Founded in 2006 with environmental responsibility at its core, the water the company distributes is the epitome of buying local.

“There is no need to tax the environment with the shipping of water from all over the world, when we have great water right here in New York,” said Jordan Zakka, director of operations at NYSW Beverage. “COVID took the life of my father Richard Zakka, who founded our company, and it hasn’t been easy to persevere, but we had to enact our safety standards to keep producing water for our customers.”

“I appreciate that NYSEG wants to see our business succeed,” added Zakka. “It was easy to apply for the grant and the people I have worked with genuinely care about small businesses.”

“We are committed to the communities we serve throughout New York, and it is critical to support the job creators that employ our neighbors,” said Patricia Nilsen, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “Our COVID-19 Economic Relief Program provides help to small and medium-sized businesses with the financial burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic so they can continue to grow and thrive.”

Large business customers can apply for up to $50,000 of assistance and small business customers can apply for up to $15,000 of assistance. Applicants must meet specific billing criteria available on the websites: and

Examples of costs incurred include, but are not limited to:

  • Workforce training and development
  • Retention and recruitment costs
  • Electric and/or heating inspections by contractors
  • Enhanced energy efficiency assistance
  • Additional electric infrastructure projects

All applicants must be NYSEG or RG&E electric service customers. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. Customers need not be current on their electric bills in order to receive a grant; however, in such cases, the awarded funding will be applied first to any customer overdue balances and any remaining amount, if any, will be sent to the customer. As part of the application process, the customer must certify that the request for funding is associated with COVID-19 and submit documentation of the expenditures, including vendor invoices and/or payment receipts.

Businesses with questions about the program or about their company’s eligibility can call 855.846.2982 or email for more information.

NYSEG and RG&E are subsidiaries of AVANGRID, Inc.

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About NYSEG: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1852, NYSEG operates approximately 35,000 miles of electric distribution lines and 4,500 miles of electric transmission lines across more than 40% of upstate New York. It also operates more than 8,150 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines and 20 miles of gas transmission pipelines. It serves approximately 894,000 electricity customers and 266,000 natural gas customers. For more information, visit

About RG&E: Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1848, RG&E operates approximately 8,800 miles of electric distribution lines and 1,100 miles of electric transmission lines. It also operates approximately 10,600 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines and 105 miles of gas transmission pipelines. It serves approximately 378,500 electricity customers and 313,000 natural gas customers in a nine-county region in New York surrounding the City of Rochester. For more information, visit

About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $40 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates 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 more than 7,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021 and 2022 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2022, AVANGRID ranked second within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2022 for the fourth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

  • Kelly Packard (Auburn, Binghamton, Brewster, Ithaca, Liberty, Mechanicville, Oneonta and Plattsburgh)
  • Julio Saenz (Rochester, Lancaster, Lockport, Elmira, Hornell and Geneva regions)
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