RI Customer Assistance Expos help over 500 customers

By Darlene Masse

Every customer had a story and many of them wanted to share it. A widow, who lived on a fixed income, mentioned the challenges of paying all of the bills. A woman, with tears in her eyes, talked about how she and her husband had worked all of their lives, but suddenly found themselves in a position of need due to lost jobs and illness. A middle-aged man was thrilled after finding out he qualified for assistance, which would make paying his household bills more manageable. These are a few of the stories of the more than 500 customers who were recently helped through three Customer Assistance Expos in Rhode Island.

“I love my job and what I am doing,” said Gladys Sarji, the National Grid manager who leads the Customer Assistance Expos in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When you meet Gladys, you immediately sense her heartfelt enthusiasm in helping people and families in need. Gladys and her team work one-on-one with customers to help them find ways to better manage their energy bills. Sometimes, that involves working out payment plans, and other times, people qualify for heating assistance programs.

In addition to National Grid, customers can meet with social services organizations to see if they are eligible for other financial assistance programs, such as food stamps. During the Customer Assistance Expo at the Pilgrim Senior Center in Warwick on April 6, there were representatives from United Way 2-1-1, SNAP Outreach food and nutrition service, and West Bay CAP home energy assistance. Many customers stopped by each table to hear about programs available to them. Customers could also learn about energy efficiency and sign up for no-cost home energy assessments through RISE Engineering. Congressman Jim Langevin also came by the event to show his support to customers. It was clear how well regarded he is. Some customers waited, after being helped, just for the chance to say hello and thank him for everything he does for the community.

Congressman Jim Langevin

Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin

While some came into the Warwick Expo with tears in their eyes, you could see the sense of relief on their faces once they were helped. “They came to the event because they are trying to do the right thing and pay their bills, but struggle with how to do it,” said National Grid spokesperson David Graves, during interviews with news media. That’s where the payment plans and assistance for those eligible make a difference.

In addition to Warwick, National Grid recently held Customer Assistance Expos in Woonsocket on March 31 and in Providence on April 12. Rita Murphy, a representative from the office of Congressman Cicilline, and Vivian Spencer, a representative from the office of Senator Whitehouse, came to the Providence Expo to support the event, since the Senator and Congressman were in DC and could not attend. Senator Reed has also sent representatives to our Expos. Customers are invited to our next Customer Assistance Expo in Newport.

Customer Assistance Expo
May 11
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
St. Joseph’s Church
5 Mann Street, Newport, RI

News Media Coverage on Warwick Customer Assistance Expo

WLNE-PVD (ABC) – Providence, RI

WLNE-PVD (ABC) – Providence, RI

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