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Common Questions

How do I get reimbursement for food?
We are reimbursing customers who have lost access to natural gas appliances as a result of the event on September 13 for reasonable additional living expenditures that have been incurred. This includes reimbursement for some meal expenses due to inability to use your stove or cooktop. 

One solution is a reloadable debit card. If you have been temporarily relocated to a hotel without a functioning kitchen, you could receive a reloadable debit card. If you do have access to a partial kitchen or use alternative appliances such as a crockpot, toaster oven or Instapot, you can still request reimbursement for additional reasonable meal expenses up to 2-3 prepared meals a week, or additional food expenses made necessary by the limited appliances available for use. Please contact your claims adjuster to discuss your reimbursement.
I am already working with my insurance carrier to arrange for damage repairs to my house due to the September 13th event. Will Columbia Gas reimburse my deductible?
Columbia Gas will reimburse reasonable out-of-pocket expenses your homeowner’s insurance does not cover, including deductibles incurred because of a policy claim. Please discuss with your claims adjuster and keep track of your receipts and expenses so you can be reimbursed. 
Can I switch from gas heating to another fuel source?

Yes. Customers who want to switch fuel sources should file a claim and speak with a claims adjuster.

Columbia Gas is reimbursing customers for the reasonable cost of replacing their gas equipment. Customers may choose to use this reimbursement to help pay for converting to electric air source heat pumps or any other alternate fuel.

Customers interested in converting to air source heat pumps should contact National Grid, the electric Program Administrator and Mass Save sponsor in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, at 1-866-251-5667 for assistance in obtaining available rebates and incentives, as well as a qualified contractor to install this technology.

I'm concerned about transportation. Are there options?

We will arrange transportation for you while you are in temporary housing (hotels, apartments, trailers) if you do not have your own means of transportation. Information will be provided to you when you receive temporary housing. Only customers placed in temporary housing who do not have access to their own transportation are eligible for alternative transportation.

I need to wash my clothes, what should I do?

We will reimburse your laundry expenses while you are in temporary housing and while your in-house laundry is affected. Call your adjuster to discuss the options that work best for you.

I'm concerned about transportation while staying in temporary housing. Are there options?

We will arrange transportation for you while you are in temporary housing (hotels, apartments, trailers) if you do not have your own means of transportation. Information will be provided to you when you receive temporary housing. Only customers placed in temporary housing who do not have access to their own transportation are eligible for alternative transportation arrangements.

If you have your own means of transportation, continue using it. We will reimburse you for additional mileage beyond your normal commuting needs. As part of the claims process, you will need to provide proof of mileage beyond your normal commute.

Call your adjuster or 1-800-590-5571 to discuss the options that work best for you.

Are you staying in your home, but cannot use your stove?

Call your adjuster to talk about reimbursement for:

  • Toaster ovens
  • Microwave ovens
  • Electric skillets
  • Electric griddles
  • Crock pots
  • InstaPots
I'm worried about staying warm in my home. Are there any temporary heating options?

In addition to traditional temporary heating solutions, we will reimburse costs for electric blankets and extra bedding. We’ve also recently expanded temporary heating options to include Dyson heaters and portable oil radiators. Call your adjuster to talk about the alternative that is right for you.

I would like to install an air-forced heat pump or mini-split AC/Heating solution. It is my temporary solution while I wait for my gas to be restored, so shouldn’t you cover it?

Our intent is to reimburse you for temporary solutions that replace appliances impacted by the event on September 13, (i.e. providing heat due to the lack of a furnace or boiler). Air-forced heat pumps and mini-split AC/Heating solutions provide both heating AND cooling, and do not represent a like-for-like replacement of impacted equipment and appliances. However, we recognize that each situation is unique and our claims team will evaluate each need based on both cost considerations and best fit temporary solutions.

How do I file or obtain the status of my claim?

You can file a claim by calling 1-800-590-5571.

If you've already filed a claim, contact your assigned claims adjuster to check the status of your claim or add additional details.

Our electric bill is going to be so much higher with the space heaters and hot plates. Are we going to be reimbursed for this?

Every situation is being reviewed in order to customize the solution that addresses the situation. If you haven’t already, you should first open an initial claim at 1-800-590-5571, and talk to an adjuster, who will be assigned to you throughout the restoration process. We will reimburse the reasonable additional living expenses that you incur as a result of this incident. The best advice is to please keep receipts and copies of bills.

Can a landlord make a claim regarding a tenant?

No, the tenant must make their own claim for damages such as spoiled food or personal property owned by the tenant. Landlord claims will include damages to the building, equipment and property owned by the landlord.

What about people that live in the home and have medical conditions and cannot be in a cold house -- what are their options?

If you require alternate or temporary housing, notify your adjuster immediately. The adjuster will work with you to acquire temporary housing.

When will the reimbursement process start? Do I have to wait for all bills to be submitted before I am reimbursed or if I send in documentation for each cost will I get reimbursed right away?

The reimbursement process for additional living expenses has already started. You can submit your reimbursement claims as you choose. You may prefer to submit one comprehensive claim covering all of your expenses. Others may prefer to submit claims for discreet expenses as they’re incurred. You must provide evidence of the costs being claimed and provide supporting receipts to their adjuster. If additional documentation is necessary, your adjuster will provide guidance on what additional information is required to support your claim.

What are considered reasonable costs? Do you cover expenses for a pellet stove, water heater, heating system, electric blankets? Is there a dollar limit on reasonable costs or should I contact the Property Claims hotline first?

Every situation is different, and we want to respond to your individual needs. You should first have a conversation with your assigned adjuster (after you have opened an initial claim) and discuss what you would like to do and/or purchase. The adjuster can then provide guidance on what the reasonable costs for that plan would be. If you are not able to wait for gas service to be restored, you may elect to contract directly with an appropriate certified licensed contractor to install appliances and systems that are fueled by sources other than natural gas (such as electric, propane or fuel oil). If you do hire a contractor, we require that the customer obtain detailed contractor receipts, which must include the customer’s name, service address, make/model of parts, and labor, so that we may reimburse customers for reasonable costs. Alternatively, you may request that we directly pay a certified licensed contractor who has agreed to install the systems described in this paragraph. To discuss whether you qualify for such direct payment option, you should contact the claims hotline.  You should be prepared to provide us with a detailed estimate of the work to be performed and contact information for the contractor.

Can I repair or replace my property and appliances in advance of official claim work done by Columbia Gas?

If you choose to repair or replace items in advance of the work we will perform, you may be reimbursed for out of pocket costs. We will reimburse all reasonable costs, subject to providing the information listed below.

The following information may be applicable and required:

  • Police/fire incident reports or photographs documenting damages
  • Type of work performed, noting between "investigation" (work to determine whether property has been damaged and the extent of damage) or "repair/replacement" (the costs to fix existing property or to install new property of like kind and quality materials)
  • Test results or contractor's report from a certified or licensed contractor, indicating a failure, or need for repair or replacement
  • Brief narrative description that will aid in explaining the rationale for the contractor’s decision to repair or replace
  • Itemized cost of materials used for repairs
  • Make, model, year, type, unit price and/or photographs of all damaged equipment replaced
  • Documentation for any other charges or costs incurred in making repairs
How will I be paid for my losses?

After receiving the required documentation of your loss or damage, all claims will be paid.

Multiple forms of payment are available for impacted individuals and businesses, including physical checks and/or reloadable debit cards.

Ongoing payments will be specific for your current and future losses.

What documents do I need to bring to the Property Claims Center?

To establish an initial claim at the Property Claims Center, verbal confirmation of loss, valid photo identification, proof of residency in affected area and an in-person meeting are needed. A monetary advance payment toward your loss can be provided to meet immediate needs for evacuation expenses, food spoilage, child care costs, etc.

Following your in-person meeting, a claims representative will follow-up to begin the loss adjustment process. If you have already received an advance payment and plan to visit the Property Claims Center a second time, please ensure you bring documentation of your loss or damage (i.e, receipts for food, pay stubs, hotel bills, etc). Please note, you will not necessarily need to return to the Property Claims Center to provide this documentation. It can be provided via mail or electronically to your claims representative and a check will be cut to you.

I already filed a claim. How do I check the status?

Contact your assigned claims adjuster to check the status of your claim or add additional details.

I want to switch my appliances or systems to an alternative fuel source now, then I want to switch back to natural gas once my service is restored. Will you pay for that?

Yes. If a residential customer wishes to temporarily switch to appliances and systems that are fueled by sources other than natural gas (such as electric, propane or fuel oil) for the duration of the service outage, and then return to natural gas-fueled appliances, we will reimburse you for reasonable costs associated with both the temporary solution as well as the return to natural gas-fueled appliances and systems. It is important that you have your home evaluated by a licensed electrician or technician prior to switching to any alternate electric solution to ensure it is safe to do so. Customers who want to temporarily switch appliances should file a claim at 1-800-590-5571 if they have not already done so, and speak with a claims adjuster. In order to expedite this process, it would be helpful to procure an estimate from a licensed contractor for the work to be done prior to making this call.