BOSTON (CBS) – National Grid is giving a little more leeway to customers struggling to pay their bills.

When it comes to shutting off power for non-payment, the company will extend its grace period for qualified customers to April 15th.

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State regulations prohibit utility companies from turning off the power for non-payment between mid-November and mid-March.

Governor Patrick asked the states utilities to cut needy customers a break. National Grid says those customers should contact the utility to work out a payment plan.

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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mike Macklin reports

Charlotte McCormack of National Grid says the extension will help customers who are facing hard times due to the poor economy.

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“It’s helpful where there’s a financial hardship, helpful where there’s a financial hardship and a child under one year of age, a household under financial hardship that would be without heat if a utility service were to shut off their utilities, and households with a financial hardship in which all adults are 65 years of age or older and a child lives in that home,” McCormack said.