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      National Grid warns customers of phone scam

      National Grid is warning its customers of a new, nationwide utility bill scam.

      In the past several days National Grid electric customers have received telephone calls from individuals claiming to work for National Grid. These scammers demand payment, through a pre-paid card, on past due balances for electric accounts and threaten customers that their service will immediately be shut-off for non-payment.

      In some cases the caller also tells the customer that they may have a faulty meter that is dangerous and in need of replacing for a substantial fee. National Grid says the electric meter is the property of the company and customers are not responsible for meter replacement costs.

      Callers are then directed to purchase a pre-paid card to make an immediate payment in order to keep their power on.

      A statement released to the media says, "National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment over the telephone. If customers wish, they can arrange for a payment by check, credit card or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative. Payment can also be made by credit card or debit card without a representative's assistance."

      Customers who have received calls demanding immediate payment through a pre-paid card or who have billing questions should call the Customer Contact Center. Customers in New England can call 1-800-322-3223.

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