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Company Proposes $6 Million in Economic Development Aid for Stricken Communities; Repairs to Severely Damaged Electric and Gas Equipment Continue
                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   September 21, 2011                                                                         Contact:  Virginia Limmiatis, (315)428-5029                                                                                                               Albany, N.Y. -- National Grid is keeping its promise to help communities in several eastern New York counties recover from the devastating effects of several storms including Irene, Lee and a tornado that ravaged the area within the past month.  The series of storms toppled trees onto cars, homes and businesses; caused historic flooding; and even took down parts of a high-voltage transmission line, flooded an electric substation and damaged a major gas line along the Mohawk River when the swollen river washed away its banks.  The combined effects of the storms and their aftermath have left many communities struggling to recover.

National Grid is working with and alongside local, state and federal agencies and aid organizations to help rebuild communities it serves in the following New York State counties that have been declared eligible for federal disaster aid: Albany, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Essex, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington.  "We initially provided innovative solutions to quickly restore electricity and gas to the 156,000 impacted customers," said Kenneth Daly, National Grid president for New York.  "Then we made a substantial contribution to help our customers through the Red Cross.  Clearly more needs to be done, so we are proposing an innovative economic development program to provide a more sustainable way to help these customers and this region."
Yesterday the company submitted a proposal to the New York State Public Service Commission that would provide expedited access to $6 million in economic development aid to the affected communities.  "When we were working with our affected neighbors to restore electric and gas service after the devastation of recent storms and flooding, we said we would return to do more to help them get back on their feet," said Kenneth Daly, National Grid president for New York.  "We look forward to the Commission's review of our proposal and are hopeful we will gain approval to quickly target the funds to where they can help. The timely recovery of these communities is essential to the economic vitality of the region and the state."

Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner said the National Grid proposal supports New York State's efforts.  "Since the immediate aftermath of the destructive storms, Governor Cuomo made it clear that his priority was not only to restore existing services to affected areas, but to establish new programs and resources to help residents and businesses in those areas face their challenges going forward," Adams said. "National Grid's proposal is an efficient and effective response to the needs on the ground in New York State, and the company's initiative is greatly appreciated."

Senator James L. Seward, R/C/I-Oneonta, said, "Our small businesses and farmers, many who have lost everything in the wake of Irene and Lee, are working diligently to rebuild.  Small towns and villages are also faced with a monumental task of repairing damaged infrastructure.  With budgets already stretched to the max, financial assistance is needed to help make people whole and I am pleased National Grid is stepping up to help energize the rebuilding effort."

Assemblyman Pete Lopez,R,C,I - Schoharie said, "As the Assemblyman for the 127th Assembly District, and a resident of Schoharie, I am heavily involved with working with our neighbors across the counties to rebuild our homes, farms and businesses. Many are making the difficult decision whether they stay and rebuild or leave. It is my hope that people will make the decision to rebuild and stay in the community that we all love so much. National Grid's timely and creative support is extremely welcomed and will be meaningful to many."

National Grid's proposal, which aims to fill financial gaps remaining after federal and/or state programs, insurance and other emergency sources of dollars have been utilized, includes four proposed programs:
·         Emergency Commercial District Investment, which would provide funding to help offset costs incurred by communities for repair and replacement of gas and electric infrastructure and street lighting; reconstruction of roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure; demolition of buildings condemned as a result of wind or water damage; and façade work on damaged buildings.
·         Emergency Agriculture Fund, which would provide funding to impacted farmers and agri-businesses to cover the costs of repair and replacement of gas and electric infrastructure and replacement of equipment necessary for the operation of the farm or agri-business, including pumps, lighting, ventilation, heating, etc.
·         Emergency Economic Development Bridge Loan Program, which would provide funding to commercial/industrial and agricultural businesses, utilizing existing emergency lending agencies and institutions. The program would provide no-interest loans to authorized Local Development Corporations (LDCs) and designated emergency agricultural lenders.
·         Emergency Main Street Revitalization Program, which would provide funding for renovation of buildings temporarily vacant due to the impact of storm damage. Projects must be located in a central business district/commercial area and the building itself must be temporarily vacant due to the impact of the storms.  Funds can be used for site preparation and construction of commercial and industrial renovation and rehabilitation of commercial, industrial or mixed-use buildings under 100,000 square feet.
National Grid plans to make funds available in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that customer needs can either be met immediately or addressed as the specific need becomes more apparent. National Grid had previously announced a $1 million donation to disaster relief efforts throughout its U.S. business and has been proactively helping its impacted customers and communities address their energy needs.
The new proposal calls for additional funding to support the emergency programs should the need exceed existing National Grid economic development program resources.
Once the programs are approved, communities and businesses in eligible counties can get more detailed information on the application process and apply for funding by visiting www.nationalgridus.comand clicking on Upstate New York.
National Gridis an international energy delivery company.  In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).  It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island.  National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.

About Montgomery County Business Development Center

The Montgomery County Business Development Center is a comprehensive resource for business and economic development and planning services throughout Montgomery County. Available services include business development and technical assistance; company and facility siting; workforce and labor development; and government coordination, including permit processes and Empire Zone incentives. In addition, the Center provides County Planning services and grant writing. The Montgomery County Business Development Center is comprised of the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency and the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development of Planning.

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