Now it’s National Grid’s turn to be incapable of running a Web site

By | December 1, 2010

Apparently it’s “big companies that can’t keep their Web sites up in the middle of the day” week. Yesterday, Citizens Bank online banking was down for over two hours. Today, National Grid’s main US Web site and online account management site are both down:

Why, today of all days, is this particularly important? Because National Grid delayed billing Massachusetts natural gas customers for an entire month while waiting for the state to approve its rate increase, and they finally issued bills today, with a due date of yesterday! Apparently National Grid wants people need to pay their November bills Right Away™, but people enrolled in their paperless billing program can’t see their bills to pay them!

Earlier today, I was able to get to their Web site, but when I tried to view my bill, it said the data wasn’t available. So apparently, before the site went down completely, it was merely broken.

A few other interesting facts about this:

  • I know National Grid released bills today with a due date of yesterday because I received a notification to that effect from Citizens Bank, where I have online bill payment set up to link to my National Grid bill automatically. In contrast, National Grid has not yet sent me a notification about my bill.
  • On the topic of linking bills automatically to Citizens Bank online bill payment, the “View Bill” link for National Grid doesn’t work properly, although it works for all the other payees whose bills I have linked. I notified National Grid about this problem many months ago, but of course they still haven’t fixed it.
  • The domain “nationalgridus.com” has four name servers, according to its whois info. Of these, three are currently timing out and the fourth is refusing to return valid answers to DNS queries.

UPDATE [December 2, 2010]:

As noted in the comments, the Web site ended up being down for most of the day, but then came up around 7:50pm. When it came back up, I checked briefly and was able to view my list of bills (i.e., the “data wasn’t available” problem mentioned above was gone), but I didn’t have time then to actually pay the bill.

Today, when I went to pay my bill, the Web site was still up, but the data problem is back:

Lovely!

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5 thoughts on “Now it’s National Grid’s turn to be incapable of running a Web site

  1. Pingback: National Grid gets 66.666% confused with 99.999% « Something better to do

  2. jik Post author

    Looks like the site came back up around 7:50pm. I suppose it could have been a lot worse than a one-day outage!

    Reply
  3. jik Post author

    DNS is working again, but the Web sites are still down — you get either a “connection reset” error or a blank page when you try to connect to them.

    I suspect that the Web site code is choking on the new bills because there’s something unusual about them — two bills issued on the same day, or a bill with an issue date that’s lower than its due date — that the coders of the Web site didn’t anticipate and handled wrong. My guess is that National Grid took it down to fix it.

    Reply
      1. jik Post author

        Isn’t the site hosted at a secure colo facility? No generators? No DR site? WTF?

        Reply

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