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Customer Service FAQs

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How can I make service requests?

Our Business Office is located at 99 Suffolk Street and is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 am, Monday through Friday. You can reach us by phone at (413) 536-9300.

Please call during regular business hours for the following services:

  •  Request new services
  •  Reconnect or disconnect services
  •  Obtain your account balance and most recent payment. These services are also provided on our website.
  •  Make changes to your account information
  •  Discuss credit and collection issues

How do I report a power outage?

You can help us restore your service faster by calling (413) 536-9300 when your electricity goes out. If we are already aware of a power outage in a certain location, a pre-recorded message will let you know this and provide additional helpful information. If we are not already aware of the outage, our Customer Service Representatives will ask you a few questions to help us determine the location of the outage and to identify any hazardous conditions.

During an outage, proper procedures can help prevent damage and health hazards. Below is a list of important procedures that can make your waiting period safer and easier:

1. While you are waiting for HG&E crews to arrive, turn off all appliances that turn on automatically when power is restored. These devices include refrigerators, televisions, water pumps, and furnaces. Also, unplug all unnecessary appliances, such as stereos, TVs, and computers.

2. Leave one light on so you will know immediately when the power is back on. Once power has been restored, gradually reconnect appliances and reset clocks and timers.

3. Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer as much as possible in order to preserve the temperature. Your food should stay fresh for at least 24 hours if the door is seldom opened.

4. To help prepare your family for power outages caused by storms, make sure you have the following available:

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Candles and matches
  • Extra food and water
  • First aid supplies and medicine
  • Fire extinguisher

5. Do not plug a backup generator into an outlet in your home without first disconnecting from our system. If you don't, the power from your generator will flow backwards into our distribution system and could seriously injure our linemen.

6. Do not burn charcoal for heat—it gives off dangerous fumes. In addition, a fireplace may pull more warm air from a house than it gives out.

7. Stay tuned to a local radio station for important information about outages.

How can I contact HG&E?

There are several ways to contact us:

  • By phone at (413) 536-9300
  • By e-mail.  Important Note: The Customer Service Internet mailbox is monitored during business hours only; not 24-hours-a-day. Please do not use this mailbox to report emergency situations.
  • If you prefer to write, be sure to include your account number and as much information as you can about the question or problem. Please address your correspondences to: Holyoke Gas & Electric, 99 Suffolk Street, Holyoke, MA 01040
  • By fax at (413) 552-0392

Where can I ask billing questions?

You may speak with one of our customer accounts representatives by calling (413) 536-9300 or by visiting our Main Office location during business hours.

How can I find rate information?

Detailed rate information is available upon request. To learn more visit HG&E's rate information.

How do I identify a Holyoke Gas & Electric employee?

When a HG&E representative comes to your home, he or she will carry an official identification badge. This HG&E company badge includes the representative's picture, name, and phone number. For more information, please visit Payment Safety.

Why is my gas meter being replaced?

State law requires Holyoke Gas & Electric to replace each customer's gas meter every seven years. To minimize inconvenience, the meter can often be replaced when you are not home. However, following the meter change, we require your presence in order to relight appliances.

Customers are notified by letter when their gas meters are due for replacement. If, following notification, you decide it would be most convenient to have the work performed during a specific day or time, you may call (413) 536-9300 from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, to schedule an appointment. If you are not home during the meter change, and need your appliances relit, please contact our Dispatch Center at (413) 536-9300.

Why are my bills sometimes estimated?

There are occasions when we are unable to read your meter, such as bad weather or access problems. When this happens, we will estimate your bill based on your energy usage last year in the same month. The next actual meter reading will give us an exact usage read and we will adjust your next bill to reflect any amount over or under our estimate. Your bill will always show when it has been estimated.

What factors affect my utility costs?

There are a number of variables that can cause your HG&E utility bill to fluctuate each month. For example, the use of an air conditioner during the summer or electric heat during the winter can significantly increase the amount of your bill. In addition, the number of days in the billing period, or changes in the number of people in your household, can affect your bill.

Aside from the efficiency of your central heating system, the following appliances are likely to be the biggest energy users in your home:

  • Portable space heaters
  • Electric water heaters
  • Air conditioners
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Water bed heaters

You can save money by making wise energy choices and purchases. It is important to remember that energy costs mount up over time. For that reason, it is important to look at the cost to run an appliance over its lifetime.

How much impact will a defective appliance or item have on my bill?

Improperly functioning appliances and equipment are usually less efficient energy users than their properly working counterparts. It is often difficult to tell when appliances are malfunctioning, so it is important to be vigilant.

Keep an eye out for blown fuses, tripped circuits, pumps that run more often than they should, and leaky faucets. A small leak that fills a coffee cup in 10 minutes wastes approximately 3,000 gallons of water a year. If you have an electric hot water heater, that small leak can add $40 a year to your electric bill. An increase or decrease in water temperature can signal a faulty thermostat or heating element.

What about changes in living habits…or family size?

Have the work schedules of household members changed so that they're home more? Are you working at home later into the night, using your lights and appliances for a longer period of time than previously? Lighting costs can make up 15 percent of your electric bill.

Have you recently had an addition to your household, for instance, a baby or an elderly parent? This could result in keeping the house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and promote increased use of appliances. All of this will affect your bill.

Does my hot water temperature affect my bill?

It can, particularly for electric hot water heaters and dishwashers. We recommend your water heater be wrapped and set to 120 degrees for additional savings. Automatic dishwashers may require a higher temperature - refer to your owner's manual. An increase or decrease in water temperature can signal a malfunction, such as a faulty thermostat or element.

Will health or therapy equipment have an impact on my bill?

If it's electric-powered, it probably will. For example, is a member of the household on a respirator, or using a vaporizer? Is someone in the household using an electric treadmill for exercising? Daily use of electric exercise machinery can significantly alter your energy consumption, especially if you use the devices vigorously, such as if you tend to run on a treadmill for long periods of time. Humidifiers and other heath and therapy equipment that work by heating water can also raise your bill.

I was on vacation for a couple of weeks. Why didn't my bill go down?

Most of the time, you can expect your energy bill to significantly decrease when you are on vacation and not using lighting, kitchen appliances, or your television. However, occasionally the electric bill will remain roughly the same in your absence. This can happen for several reasons.

Your time away from home may have fallen into two billing periods so that the total difference in your energy use will not be apparent in a single bill.

Automatic appliances operate throughout the day and night, whether you are home or away. These appliances include your refrigerator, freezer, electric water heater, heating system, and many more. It may not be practical to disconnect them unless you plan to be away for weeks at a time.

 

How should I pay my bill?

HG&E now offers online payments. You can set up convenient automatic payments that will be deducted from your checking/savings/credit card on your discount date. This paperless method allows you to pay your bill without even leaving your home. You can also make one time payments on this website at your convenience at all times.

HG&E also provides a self-addressed envelope with each month's bill. For fastest processing your payment should be sent to PO Box 4165, Woburn, MA 01888-4165. When paying your bill, please make your check or money order payable to Holyoke Gas & Electric. Please write your account number on your check. Mail your check or money order, along with the stub from your bill, in the self-addressed envelope.

We encourage you to send your payment directly through the mail or online for fastest processing. However, if you prefer, you can pay your bill at the following locations:

  • · 99 Suffolk Street, Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • · Drop Box locations for after hour payments:

99 Suffolk Street                                HG&E Main Office

291 Pine Street                                   Holyoke Senior Center

28 Lincoln Street                                Stop & Shop

2265 Northampton Street                Stop & Shop

297 Apremont Highway                    Wally’s BP Shop

494 Westfield Road                           DB Mart

If you are paying multiple bills with one check, please make sure you include all stubs and note the amount to be applied to each account.

How does the Auto Payment Plan work?

At HG&E, we realize that your time and money are valuable. The easiest way to pay your bill is not to write a check at all. That's why we offer our Electronic Bill Payment Plan, which allows you to pay your bill automatically. Every month you'll save a stamp, a check, and an envelope, providing savings for our environment and for you.

Our Electronic Bill Payment Plan is a convenient, cost-effective, and secure alternative to paying bills through the mail. Once you authorize auto payment, the money to pay your bill is automatically withdrawn directly from your bank account or credit card each month. To enroll, simply go to www.hged.com and register your account. For more information, please call us at (413) 536-9300.

How does the Budget Plan work?

Does your bill fluctuate during the year? If you use electric heat, you probably have higher bills during the winter months. Or maybe you pay more during the summer when you run your air conditioner. Varying gas and electric usage can make budgeting difficult. But our Budget Billing Program can help. With Budget Billing, customers pay a fixed, average amount each month for their utilities.

Your budget payment is based on the gas and electricity that you consumed during the previous 12 months. Actual usage is reviewed every six months, and your budget may be adjusted accordingly. The budget plan begins during the June billing period. For additional information, please call Customer Service at (413) 536-9300.

What assistance is available for low-income customers?

If you meet income eligibility requirements then you may be eligible for heating assistance. Please call the Valley Opportunity Council Low Income Home Heating Assistance at (413) 552-1548 if you have any questions or need more information.

Can my service be terminated for non-payment?

Unless you have paid your bill or made arrangements with us to pay, your service can be terminated for non-payment.

If your service is terminated for non-payment, full payment of the outstanding balance will be required. Also, before HG&E restores your service, an additional security deposit and a reconnect fee may be required. Therefore, it is important that you make arrangements with HG&E Customer Service whenever your bill is overdue.

How can I get protection from utility shut-off?

Your utility service cannot be shut off or will be restored if you have certified to us that you are unable to pay any overdue bill because of financial hardship in addition to one of the following reasons:

  1. Someone living in your home is seriously ill.
  2. A child under 12 months of age is living in your home.
  3. Between November 15 and March 15th if your service provides the primary source of home heating and had not been shut-off for non-payment before November 15th.

How can I dispute my bill?

If you dispute all or any portion of your bill, you have the right to request a hearing. A complaint officer shall conduct such a hearing within (7) seven days of the request. The complaint officer will issue a decision in writing within (5) five working days of the hearing. To arrange a hearing call or write the Complaint Officer, City of Holyoke Gas & Electric Department, 99 Suffolk Street, Holyoke, MA 01040-5082.

If after completing the appeal process you wish to dispute the decision of the Holyoke Gas & Electric Department, you may contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston, MA 02110. Or you may telephone them at (877) 886-5066.

How do I get senior citizen protection for my bill?

If you have notified us that everyone living in  your home is 65 years of age or older, your service cannot be shut-off for failure to pay a past-due bill without approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU).

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