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Saturday, September 15, 2018
Crews Working on the Incident in Merrimack Valley

Incident Contact Numbers


Affected Customer Hotline 1-866-388-3239
Property Claims Hotline
1-800-590-5571
Gas Emergency1-800-525-8222

Overview and System Status

As Eversource and our crews work through today, with assistance from National Grid and mutual aid crews, we continue making progress in Phase One of the natural gas restoration efforts in the Merrimack Valley. That first phase is where we shut off all 8,600 gas meters and enter every home and business to ensure it is clear of natural gas. As of 6:00 p.m. this evening, we have cleared 5,302 residences/buildings.

Resources

Today, we had 1,000 people working in the field.

This stage is critical in order to safely introduce natural gas back into the system and ultimately restore service to customers.

During the third phase, we will assess appliances for any issues.

Finally, phase four will consist of restoring gas service to each of those 8,600 meters.

While we do this work, we ask any customers who shut off their own gas to call us at 1-866-388-3239.

In instances where we aren’t able to connect with a homeowner, and your gas meter is located inside your home, as a last resort, locksmiths are being used. Shutting off all gas meters is critical step which MUST be completed. We are working very closely with local agencies to help us perform this important safety measure. Our gas technicians are always accompanied by a local first responder, when they enter your home to shut off the gas meter.

We’re here to support the communities and state government, ensure public safety and restore service as quickly and as safely as possible. We commit to you that we will keep you updated regularly with clear and open communications throughout the process.

Key Messages

Please do not enter your house unless you are accompanied by a gas company representative.

Regarding our gas operations:

We take the safety of our systems seriously and maintain and operate our systems at the highest standards. Our top priority is the safety of the public, customers and employees.

If a customer smells an odor of natural gas, they should leave the area immediately, move to a safe location and call 911 and our emergency number at 1-800-525-8222.

If a customer smells an odor of natural gas:

  • Don’t turn off gas to your house or to any appliances.
  • Don’t try to find the leak yourself or operate pipeline valves.
  • Don’t light a match or candle, or operate anything that could cause a spark, including home phones or cell phones, lights, appliances, flashlights, power tools, etc.
  • Don’t open the windows and doors in an attempt to ventilate.

Regarding bills and payments:

We have suspended all billing and payment actions for the impacted customers until further notice. Customers do not need to worry about bills, payments, late fees, or terminations. Right now we are focused on getting customers back into their homes and working toward restoring service.

Answers to Common Questions

Q. When can I get back in my house? When will my house have gas again?
A: This situation is unprecedented. We have brought in scores of additional resources to restore service as soon as possible. However, we expect restoration to take an extended period of time. We are working with emergency responders to visit each home and business to shut off gas service and make sure the home is safe. When an area is complete, the electric company can restore power. We will need to visit each home again to restore gas service.

Q. I shut off my gas. How do I turn it back on?
A: DO NOT attempt to turn your gas back on. Contact Columbia Gas to make an appointment to have your service restored.

Q. I’m concerned my home isn’t safe. Can you check my service?
A: Yes, contact Columbia Gas to schedule a safety check.

Q. Will I still have to pay my bill when I’m not getting gas?
A: When the gas is shut off, there is no gas running through your meter – so there are no charges for gas usage. If you have further questions about your bill, please contact Columbia Gas.

Q. Who do I call if my property is damaged?
A: Please call the Columbia Gas Property Claims Helpline at 1-800-590-5571. You can also visit our Property Claims Center at the Lawrence Public Library (51 Lawrence Ave.) from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekdays.

Q. I have expenses for hotel/food. Will you reimburse me?
A: Columbia Gas will reimburse displaced residents for reasonable accommodations until it is safe to return home. You can request reimbursement by contacting our Property Claims Helpline at 1-800-590-5571. Keep track of your receipts and expenses so you can be reimbursed.

Regarding customer actions in the affected area:

First and foremost, our thoughts are with everyone impacted by these fires and we stand ready to support these communities.

Approximately 8,600 outages resulted in the affected communities and we expect this to be an extended duration event.

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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