I’ve had some issues with National Grid that property owners should be aware of. One is regarding new accounts, the other is regarding renting to tenants.

1) Setting up a new account

  • I set up a new account for a building in late December. As usual, the first thing I do is set up direct pay (in January) so I won’t forget to pay my bill. I don’t know why direct pay takes so long to set up, but apparently they need like 2 weeks to make it effective
  • Towards the end of the 2 weeks, my first payment is due. I discovered after the fact (early February) that my direct payment did not activate in time, and I have an overdue balance. For some ridiculous reason, they have an online payment option that cannot be used if you signed up for direct pay. So basically I can’t pay my first payment, and I have to call in to find out what my options are.
  • There are a few alternatives to paying online. 1) You can pay in person, for me the closest places were downtown Brooklyn which is not worth driving to since you have to garage park, or somewhere deep in Brooklyn that I wouldn’t want to go. Paying in person is just not convenient if you are busy. 2) Pay by Western Union, but in reading the fine print they only allow payments for small increments using this method, on top of a service fee.
  • So I used the final method, a check by mail around mid-Feb. End of story, right?
  • Wrong. I go away at the end of February. When I get back in early March, I get a collection message on my phone from National Grid about my overdue balance. I check my bank records, and they deposited the check more than a week earlier.
  • I call to sort things out. The only positive thing I can say is that customer service was friendly and helpful, and they helped sort things out.

2) New tenants

  • I had an experience where new tenants moved into an apartment. This was around the end of Fall as things are starting to get chilly. A week later they call to complain that they have no heat or hot water, and are demanding restitution.
  • Based on what they told me, by their own admission of certain facts, it seems like they moved in and never called to have the accounts switched to their names. Naturally, the previous tenant shut off their account the day they moved out.
  • I called National Grid, and they said that there was no overdue balance, meaning it wasn’t because the previous occupant had not paid her bill. They also told me that if there is no name on an account, but they see that the gas is being used, they shut off that account. That part makes total sense.
  • What doesn’t make a lot of sense is that they couldn’t send someone to turn the gas back on for a week. If they have the ability to turn the gas off immediately, why can’t they turn it back on immediately or in 24 hours?

Do you have any stories about National Grid?