Is the National Grid TCPA Settlement a Scam? Thousands Receive Notices
Emails went out last month about a settlement for National Grid's violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Is it a scam or is it legit?
If you're one of the thousands of people in New York, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island who get their utilities from National Grid, you might have received an email last month about a settlement for the company's violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Is the National Grid TCPA settlement a scam?
No, it isn't a scam. The emails informing you of a National Grid TCPA settlement are legit. National Grid has agreed to pay out a settlement of $38.5 million as a result of the class action lawsuit Jenkins v. National Grid USA et al., 2:15-cv-01219 (E.D. N.Y. 2021) that claims the company violated the TCPA Act by calling customers on their cell phones without their consent.
Read on to find out who's entitled to receive a portion of the settlement and how much the payout will likely be.
What did National Grid do wrong?
In the lawsuit, National Grid was accused of contacting customers without first receiving their consent. A provision of the TCPA Act requires companies to get a customers' permission before sending automated messages to their cell phones.
National Grid has a number of utility companies located in three states, which include:
New York: KeySpan Gas East Corporation, The Brooklyn Union Gas Company, and Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation
Massachusetts: Boston Gas Company, Colonial Gas Company, Massachusetts Electric Company, and Nantucket Electric Company
Rhode Island: Narragansett Electric Company
Although National Grid reportedly denies it did anything wrong, it agreed to pay a settlement of $38.5 million. The company has also changed its policies and procedures regarding customer calls, including now asking customers if they consent to receive automated collection calls.
How do I know if the National Grid settlement applies to me?
The settlement applies to anyone in the U.S. who received automated calls on their cell phone from National Grid between March 9, 2011, and Oct. 29, 2021. The prerecorded messages covered under the settlement include those that state:
The payment or status of your current or past National Grid utility account
An "important matter" concerning your current or past National Grid utility account
A disconnect notice concerning your current or past National Grid account
An invitation by National Grid to attend a Customer Assistance Expo or speak with the National Grid Consumer Advocacy Group, Consumer Advocate, or Credit Department
The availability of government assistance programs, like the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
How do I file a claim for the National Grid settlement?
Those who believed they should be included in the settlement were able to fill out a claim form online or fill out a paper form. These forms needed to have been submitted by May 22, 2022, in order to be considered.
In January 2022, National Grid sent out emails to certain individuals that contained a Notice ID and Confirmation Code to be included on your claim. Settlement payments were estimated to be between $50 and $150 and began being disbursed the week of Sept. 5, 2022. The claims website states that payments for the National Grid settlement would be sent out on a rolling basis.
What if I want to file my own lawsuit against National Grid?
You have the right to exclude yourself from the settlement or object to it. If you exclude yourself from the settlement, you won't receive any payment, and you give up your right to file your own lawsuit against National Grid for the same thing. If you plan to file your own lawsuit against National Grid, you can object to the settlement.
If you think you have a valid claim against National Grid, speak with a lawyer regarding your rights to file suit.