KeysPan East Gas Corporation has filed a proposal with the PSC seeking to eliminate all customer service assistance (except for taking payments) at eight of its eleven long island customer assistance offices. In an update, the utility says it will put a courtesy phone in 8 centers linked to their call center, which they also propose to relocate, from Melville to Brooklyn. The remaining 3 offices would have full service for 2 years, after that, no commitment is made. The 8 centers have provided about 43% of the walk-in services.
In addition to making payments at the utility offices, customers make written applications in situations for service where that can be required, negotiate repayment agreements to avoid imminent termination, and lodge customer service inquiries and complaints.
The utility union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1049, and New York’s Utility Project have intervened in the case at the PSC to oppose the proposals.
The PSC case is Case No. 13-G-0371, KeySpan Gas East Corporation d/b/a National Grid Customer Service Transition Update and Notice of Intent to Relocate Call Center
Section 65(13) of the Public Service Law requires the PSC to provide notice and a hearing on any relocation of customer assistance services or any relocation of a customer service call center prior to acting on a request:
13. (a) Every gas corporation or electric corporation furnishing utility services shall provide the following call center customer assistance receiving inquiries on: customer financial responsibility; receiving requests to initiate or terminate service; receiving requests for emergency services; determining deposit required or billing rate; receiving meter and service orders and access to meter requests; explaining company rates, regulations, policies, procedures, and common practices; initiating trouble order forms and high bill investigations; handling payment and other credit arrangements such as obtaining deposits, financial statements and payment plans; and referring customers to social service agencies and other assistance programs.
(b) No gas or electric corporation shall close a call center or other facility providing the customer assistance set forth in paragraph (a) of this subdivision or relocate such customer assistance to another area of New York state or outside of New York state without notice and hearing before the commission. (c) This subdivision shall not apply to the collection of debt where by utility company policy such debt is directed to a collection agency or similar service companies.
The SAPA Notice issued by the PSC and published in the September 11, 2013 State Register covers only the proposed call center relocation and does not mention the proposed relocation of customer assistance services from the eight offices to the call center.
The Public Service Commission previously issued orders requiring walk-in customer service offices to be maintained by Con Edison, Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E), and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG).
Comments can be filed online with the PSC at