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National Grid’s Brentwood outreach facility its first in U.S.

At the Islip Avenue consumer advocacy center, low-income customers can get help with the utility’s affordability programs and from social service agencies.

National Grid employees, consumer advocates and local leaders

National Grid employees, consumer advocates and local leaders attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new customer center in Brentwood on Wednesday. Photo Credit: National Grid employees, consumer advocates and local leaders attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new customer center in Brentwood on Wednesday.

National Grid has opened a facility in Brentwood that is its first Consumer Advocacy Outreach Center, aimed at providing services for income-eligible and other vulnerable customers.

The center opened Wednesday on Islip Avenue and provides customers with help and information on natural gas access and affordability programs but also other non-utility programs and services, such as food pantries and financial assistance. It is the first such center across the company’s U.S. territory, officials said.

John Bruckner, newly named president of National Grid New York, said the center is operated by locally hired staff with the goal of providing assistance to customers who are “clearly our most vulnerable . . . These are consumers who need our help.”

The center is also available for outside agencies to provide assistance to the customers through education, workshops, information meetings and expos, National Grid said.

Advocates will help customers with existing programs such as the Energy Affordability Program, Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, Project Warmth and Medical Hardship. In addition, National Grid will make available a reduced-rate conversion program for up to 100 customers seeking to convert to natural gas.

The programs will also be available in a mobile outreach vehicle that will visit communities throughout Long Island and the Rockaways.

As part of its 2017 rate case, National Grid allocated $23.7 million toward bill-discount programs for income-eligible customers, or $7.9 million a year. Eligible customers can see discounts of $34 to $74 off their bills, National Grid said.

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