National Grid announced it has now transitioned into the third and final stage of the restoration process, turning on gas meters and re-lighting customer appliances. This follows the completion of the second phase of the gas restoration process, reintroducing gas into the impacted system, and verification of the system’s safety and integrity. National Grid has worked with state and local governments to establish a list of critical facilities, such as nursing homes, public safety facilities, and schools, that will be prioritized in the re-lighting process.
The Company has begun contacting impacted customers with an automated call as a force of more than 600 service technicians begins customer re-lights immediately. National Grid is encouraging customers to be available at their homes and businesses today and tomorrow to help expedite their restoration. The re-lighting process requires technicians to physically enter the impacted premises and re-light all gas appliances. Because of the time-consuming nature of this work, each customer visit will take approximately 45 minutes, National Grid advises customers that the overall restoration will take multiple days to complete. An individual over the age of 18 must be present during the re-lighting process.
“This is another important milestone in the restoration process, but customers should understand this is a major effort and it will take us time to get to each and every home,” said Terry Sobolewski, Chief Customer Officer and SVP, National Grid, US. “We understand the great challenge our customers are facing with this disruption and our team of 1000 gas technicians and customer service folks who are working round the clock will not let up until we have their service restored.”
Customers are advised not to check out of their alternative lodging until they confirm their gas service has been fully restored. For those customers who choose to remain home, we are asking customers to leave an exterior light on to signal that they don’t mind a National Grid technician knocking on their door.
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.
As always, if a customer smells gas in their home, business, or outdoors they should call 1-800-640-1595 or 911
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.
The Company encourages customers to make themselves available at their premises during daytime hours.
Our crews will have an ongoing presence in the impacted areas and return to customers houses at various times if they are not home upon first attempt.
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 center, food trucks, and most hotels throughout the restoration efforts.
Community Assistance Vans will be complementing our field personnel during the re-light process beginning on Saturday, January 26, 2019 until 8:00 PM nightly. 20 vans will be located within the community and staffed to answer customer questions as we restore service.