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Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Columbia Gas Launches "Back-to-Business" Initiative, Improved Claims Process, To Enhance Support to Affected Businesses

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is today announcing a "Back-to-Business" initiative for businesses in the area affected by the September 13 event, designed to streamline and expedite the process of approving claims and restoring gas service so businesses can quickly return to normal operations.

"Assisting businesses is not a one-size-fits all approach," said  Joe Albanese , Chief Recovery Officer for the Greater Lawrence restoration project, as appointed by  Governor Baker . "The goal of the  'Back-to-Business' initiative  is to address specific needs for each business and help shepherd them through the process, whether that's answering general questions, installing equipment or managing insurance claims. Our aim remains to provide prompt and ongoing assistance to businesses that need it, and get them back in business."

"Nearly 700 businesses have been affected by this tragic event. While 80% of those businesses are currently open, Columbia Gas is working hard to help all impacted businesses serve their communities just as they did before the September 13th incident," said  Pablo Vegas , Chief Restoration Officer for Columbia Gas. "We recognize the impact the incident of September 13th has had on the local business community, and the challenges they will continue to have even after gas service is restored.  We are committed to helping these businesses get back up and running as soon as possible."

The "Back-to-Business" Initiative and Centers

The "Back-to-Business" initiative will assign a project manager to each business owner who will be responsible for addressing the businesses' unique needs in order to make the business ready to receive natural gas. The project managers will proactively reach out to business owners to introduce themselves and will begin visiting businesses in the coming days. For bilingual and Spanish-speaking business owners, linguists will partner with project managers throughout the process and will be on site for business visits. Under the direction of each project manager will be a fully integrated team including claims adjusters, plumbers, laborers and electricians to quickly restore business customers.

The "Back-to-Business" initiative's integrated teams will work out of three business centers, located in each of the affected communities.  These centers will serve as the operation center for construction operations managers, claims representatives and linguists, and will work to build customized plans for each business based on their assessed needs. While business owners will be hearing from their project manager proactively, these centers are open to the public should business owners choose to visit them during the claims and recovery process.

The locations of the "Back-to-Business" Centers, which will be open beginning Thursday, October 18 at noon, are:

Andover
45 Main Street, Andover, MA 01810
Monday through Friday - 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
Saturday - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Construction Operations Manager  Jeff McCaples

Lawrence
439 South Union Street, Lawrence, MA 01843 (1 Heritage Place)
Monday through Friday - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Construction Operations Manager Derrick Seitz

North Andover
115 Main Street, North Andover, MA 01845
Monday through Friday - 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Construction Operations Manager Charlie Romano

Expedited Claims Process

For those businesses that are using the new Columbia Gas business services, the company will provide an expedited claims process that will make it easier for business customers to streamline installation and repair of gas-related equipment.

If the size of a claim is under $25,000, the approval process will occur on site during a site visit.  For claims between $25,000 and $100,000 the approval process will occur within 24 hours, and for claims more than $100,000 the approval process will occur within 48 hours.

Designated claims adjusters will be made available to provide concierge services to businesses in navigating the process.

Media Contact

Scott Ferson
617-571-9595

Customer Numbers

Affected Customer Helpline
1-866-388-3239

Property Claims Helpline
1-800-590-5571

Gas Emergency
1-800-525-8222

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