National Grid reinstating fees for residents still raising their homes after Sandy

ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (WABC) -- There is some shock on the road to recovery after Superstorm Sandy.

Residents on Long Island who are already paying the price to raise their home are suddenly getting slapped with hundreds of dollars in extra, unexpected fees.

Richard Willi was so frustrated. He told his wife to write the check for $2,300.

"I wrote the check because we had no choice," said Emma Willi, an Island Park homeowner.

They had no choice because their utility company, National Grid, refused to reconnect their natural gas service without it.

"You just can't get ahead," said Richard Willi, an Island Park homeowner.

"We shouldn't have to go through any more horror, we went through it with Sandy coming back to see it, and I feel like they are making us relive all these things," Emma said.

After the superstorm, National Grid waived disconnection and reconnection fees for struggling homeowners, but this summer, quietly reinstated those fees.

Mrs. Willi says it's adding insult to injury.

"All the people that I'm talking to, it's nobody's fault that it's this long, it's that they are waiting for the money from NY Rising," Emma said.

It will affect hundreds, perhaps thousands of homeowners, who have yet to elevate their homes to meet new federal regulations.

"People don't have the thousands of dollars at this point to shell out for that," said Assem. Todd Kaminsky, (D) NYS Assembly.

Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky sent this letter urging National Grid's president to reconsider, but the utility is holding firm.

"For more than two years after the storm, National Grid voluntarily suspended facilities relocation charges..." a spokesperson said. Customers "should contact National Grid to discuss the work required and any associated charges. We will review each situation on a case-by-case basis to see how we can help customers."

"We need to be helping people like the folks that live here, not holding them back," Assem. Kaminsky said.
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