Due to the Aquidneck Island Gas Outage
incident affecting thousands of residents in Newport and Middletown, Rhode
Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha is reminding affected residents of
their rights and advising them to be aware of possible fraud and abuse that may
take place in the wake of such emergencies.
To help Rhode Islanders as they recover from
this gas outage emergency, Attorney General Neronha offers the following tips:
If someone attempts to
gain access to your home claiming to be an employee or contractor of a utility
company, or an insurance company representative, ask for company
identification. Utility workers should carry identification and should not
hesitate to show it to you. When in doubt, contact National Grid or the
insurance company to verify the identity of the worker.
Beware of online or
unsolicited calls or emails from individuals posing as government officials,
insurance adjustors or utility company representatives. Do not provide personal
information (such as social security number, date of birth, etc.) to anyone
Talk to your insurance
company. Read your insurance policy and contact the Department of Business
Regulation/Insurance Division at (401) 462-9532 if you have questions or
concerns about insurance issues.
Keep all receipts and
notes detailing any losses you believe are associated with the outage, along
with photographs if applicable. If you have suffered a loss related to the
outage and need to file a claim with your insurance company or National Grid,
such information will most likely be required. The National Grid website has
identified what it will reimburse as a loss associated with the outage, the
claims form and an email address for filing it: https://www.nationalgridus.com/Aquidneck-Island
Businesses are prohibited
from increasing prices of any item immediately prior to a during a declared
state of emergency. If you think you have been a victim of price-gouging,
contact our Consumer Protection Unit at (401) 274-4400.
While there may be a time
to think about retaining a lawyer to help, a good place to start is to go
through the claims process with National Grid and/or your homeowner’s
If you have a complaint
pertaining to utility services, please contact the Division of Public Utilities
Consumer Division at (401) 780-9700.
National Grid has set up
a Customer Information Center at Gurney’s Newport Resort on Goat Island and
resources are available online at https://www.nationalgridus.com/Aquidneck-Island.
If you believe you have
been the victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit
at the Attorney General’s Office at (401) 274-4400.
In the event of damage to your home or
property requiring the services of a contractor:
Verify the contractor is
licensed and insured with the R.I. Contractors’ Registration and Licensing
Board at www.crb.ri.gov or (401) 921-1590. The license of electricians, plumbers,
etc., may be verified with the R.I. Department of Labor & Training’s
Professional Regulations Division at www.dlt.ri.gov or (401) 462-8580.
Obtain all quotes,
estimates and work details in writing.
Request references and
check them before agreeing to hire anyone.
Be wary of salespeople
going door-to-door offering low-cost services or free inspections.
Always pay by check made
out to the business or with a credit card; not with cash. Never pay large sums
If you are a landlord or a tenant and have
questions, please refer to the R.I. Landlord Tenant Handbook at http://ohcd.ri.gov/freq-requested/documents/rilthandbook-2007.pdf.