September 18, 2018

Senators Warren and Markey Question Columbia Gas and Eversource About Communications with Customers in Wake of Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

Washington, DC – With many customers in the impacted areas of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover still confused about whether their gas should be turned on or off, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) today sent letters to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and Eversource asking for clarification on which homes are impacted and should have gas turned off, as well as how residents have been notified about whether it is safe for them to be receiving gas. Company officials have stated that it is possible that one house might currently have gas service and the house next door to it on the same street might not.
“There is widespread confusion over whose homes were affected by the incident. This confusion is amplified by the fact that company officials have said that it is possible that one house might currently have gas service and the house next door to it on the same street might not,” write the Senators in their letters to Columbia Gas and Eversource. “For the ongoing restoration efforts, it is important that residents have confidence that Columbia Gas and Eversource understand exactly whose gas service is still on and whose gas service has to be turned off.”
A copy of the letter to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and Eversource can be found HERE.
In their letter, Senators Warren and Markey ask both Eversource and Columbia Gas of Massachusetts if the company is maintaining a database and map of homes and buildings that have been inspected and to provide that information to their offices. The Senators also ask the companies to describe what steps they are taking to ensure that homes and buildings that are supposed to have had their service turned off have actually been serviced. Finally, Senators Markey and Warren ask how the companies are communicating with residents in the affected areas to keep them apprised of the situation for their home or business and any ongoing or future work that may affect them or their area.
In the wake of the explosions and fires, Senators Warren and Markey demanded answers from Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, NiSource, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to provide answers about the September 13 explosions in Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover, Massachusetts that killed one and injured dozens. Responses are due to the Senators on September 19. The Senators have also called for a Congressional hearing on the accident.