Today, National Grid Chief Customer Officer Terry Sobolewski announced the completion of the first phase of the gas restoration process, shutting off approximately 6,500 gas meters in Newport. National Grid has now initiated the process of reintroducing gas into the affected system. This process is expected to take several hours as National Grid inspects, monitors, and verifies the system’s safety.
“National Grid is committed to restoring gas service to Aquidneck Island in a safe and methodic manner as we transition to this critical phase in the restoration process,” said Terry Sobolewski, Chief Customer Officer and SVP, National Grid, US. “I want to thank our customers, community, and partners for their ongoing support during this challenging time and reiterate that we are working tirelessly to get all those affected back into their homes and businesses.”
Following the re-pressurization of the gas system, National Grid will transition into the third and final stage of the restoration process, turning on gas meters and re-lighting customer appliances. National Grid will contact impacted customers with an automated call when crews are ready to enter the field to begin the re-light process. National Grid asks customers to please log into their accounts online at www.nationalgridus.com, or call 1-800-870-1664 as soon as possible to ensure that the company has the most direct means of communications.
Why does National Grid need to re-light all gas appliances?
Many older gas appliances and most water heaters have a small, continuously burning gas flame—the pilot light—that ignites the main burner. Some newer models have electronic igniters. When National Grid turned off affected gas meters, pilot lights went out.
For safety reasons, only trained and qualified gas technicians should re-light pilot lights on all gas appliances.
Customers should never attempt to turn on their meter or re-light gas appliances.
What is the process for turning meters back on and re-lighting gas appliances?
The process to re-light gas appliances is methodical and will take some time (approximately 45 minutes per customer). National Grid gas technicians will need to physically enter all impacted properties. National Grid will never engage with a locksmith to enter unoccupied premises to turn meters on or re-light appliances.
An individual over the age of 18 must be present on the premise for the re-lighting process to commence.
If the customer is at their premises when technicians arrive, National Grid will either turn the meter on outside or enter the premises to turn on the meter and then re-light all gas appliances.
Unlike our process in Phase I, we will not enter the property without the customer on the premises.
For the first 72 hours of the re-light phase National Grid will not be accepting individual appointments for technicians. The Company encourages customers to make themselves available at their premises during daytime hours.
A specialized task force will be deployed focused on critical facilities to relight and support customer needs.
For those customers who have winterized or had their systems drained (e.g. heating systems), National Grid will be unable to re-light their appliances until the system is back to normal operating conditions. Customers are encouraged to contact their trusted HVAC technicians in advance of the re-lighting process.
National Grid will continue to update and provide customer information packets at our Customer Information Center, warming centers, food trucks, and most hotels throughout the restoration efforts.
Community Assistance Vans will be complementing our field personnel during the re-light process. Several vans will be located within the community and staffed to answer customer questions as we restore service.
Florence Gray Community Center, 1 York Street, Newport will be providing free breakfast from 7:30AM to 9:00AM and lunch from 11:30AM to 1:00PM for the remainder of the week.
Senior meal sites at Edward King House, 35 King Street and Middletown Senior Center, 670 Green End Avenue will remain open, as well as the Meals on Wheels Program.
As part of National Grid’s #IslandEatsOnUs initiative, five food options will be serving hot lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday from 11:00AM to 8:00PM at the following locations:
Newport Police Station – 120 Broadway
Pell Elementary School – 35 Dexter Street
Kings Park, Wellington Ave
Haven Bros, Long Wharf
LoBro, 88 Broadway
Customer Liaisons will be positioned at the food trucks for customer support.
Additional Contact Information
For those individuals that have lost gas – please be sure you have called to let us know at 1-800-640-1595
Other non-emergency questions about service can be addressed by calling our customer service number line at 1-800-322-3223
If you smell gas, in your home, business, our outdoors – call 1-800-640-1595 or 911