Latest Columbia Gas headlines

Work continued on repairing gas lines in Andover at the corner of High Plain Road and Beacon Street.

Merrimack Valley says $80m settlement in gas disaster is just the beginning of recovery

The payout will allow the three communities to repair roads and parks that were damaged during the Sept. 13 natural gas disaster and lengthy reconstruction work by the utility.

NiSource Inc., the parent company of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, said in a quarterly report to investors that the costs include $1 billion alone for incident-related damages from the fires and explosions.

Financial toll of Lawrence gas disaster soars — and may keep rising

The utility responsible for the Sept. 13 Merrimack Valley gas disaster said Wednesday that the potential financial costs have jumped to more than $1.6 billion.

Utility is undecided about seeking a rate increase after Lawrence-area disaster

The chief executive of Columbia Gas’s parent company said it is first pursuing insurance reimbursements to recover costs that have topped $1.1 billion.

Workers last December removed a new stove that Columbia Gas installed inside a Lawrence house, but which turned out to be defective. in Lawrence.

Columbia Gas crews return to Merrimack Valley

The replacement of appliances remains one of Columbia’s last hurdles in the restoration process before it can claim mission accomplished.

Mark Kempic, incoming president of Columbia Gas, spoke to concerned Andover residents Saturday.

Incoming president of Columbia Gas pledges to fulfill promises

Mark Kempic met with residents and business owners in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts from the September gas explosions.

Marcy Reed, president of National Grid, spoke in Woburn on Oct. 9 after an unexpected surge in natural gas pressure forced officials to cut off service to about 300 homes.

Moratorium on National Grid gas hookups lifted

The move could boost projects that have been stalled for months, but the state is imposing some restrictions on the utility.

Lawrence, MA--9/20/2018-- Columbia Gas workers worked on pipes off of Parker Street in South Lawrence. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: Reporter:

CHESTO MEANS BUSINESS

Natural gas industry burns for more pipeline capacity in Mass.

With lawmakers raking the natural gas industry over the coals, this might seem like a strange time to seek support at the State House for expanded pipeline capacity.

Governor Baker and local officials announced that all major work has been completed in the Lawrence area following the Columbia Gas disaster.

Baker says gas restoration is ‘substantially completed’ in Merrimack Valley

Crews have restored gas to 98 percent of the approximately 8,000 targeted meters that were affected by the disaster in the Merrimack Valley.

Boston12/11/18 At the State House, a hearing held by the Committee on Telecommunications , Utilities and Energy heard testimony from executives of natural gas utility companies including Columbia Gas. People in the gallery listen. hoto by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff(metro)

Legislators signal support for gas oversight following Merrimack Valley disaster

State lawmakers appeared ready to back a requirement that professional engineers review gas-pipe projects.

Columbia Gas says all but a few hundred customers have had service restored.

Columbia Gas targeting last few hundred customers in Lawrence area still without service

The remaining customers had been trying to get their systems restored on their own instead of using contractors from Columbia Gas.

Lawrence, MA, 12/3/2018 -- Workers deliver a new stove to a home in South Lawrence. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: 04lawrence Reporter:

With more plumbers, could Lawrence have seen faster gas service?

A revised plan deploying hundreds more plumbers turned out to be highly effective. So some ask: Why wasn’t Plan B Plan A?

Lucianny Rondon (right), sister of the late 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, was overcome with emotion while speaking about her brother during a Senate committee hearing in Lawrence Monday.

Sister of teen killed in gas explosions wants justice for her brother

Leonel Rondon died during the Merrimack Valley gas explosions after a chimney from a house that blew up toppled onto the vehicle he was sitting in.

Live video: Senate committee hearing on Merrimack Valley gas explosions

A US Senate committee holds a hearing in Lawrence on the Merrimack Valley gas explosions.

Ryker (center), 3, and Annalyse Rivera, 6, of South Lawrence ate with relatives Joe Rivera and Rosalie Davis in Andover.

A Thanksgiving for 23,000 in the Merrimack Valley

Scores of people came together to make Thanksgiving a reality for the many families still struggling after gas fires and explosions in the region.

Laura Alefantis (left) helped Hadde Diaz, 4, find a pair of snow pants and a winter jacket as she volunteers at Debbie's Treasure Chest during Keeping The Merrimack Valley Warm Night.

Lacking heat and a stove, Lawrence-area residents prepare for Thanksgiving

Hundreds of families affected by the gas outage in the Merrimack Valley are expected to join their neighbors at communal holiday dinners.

Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday proposed the first new state law in response to the Sept. 13 Merrimack Valley gas explosions.

Baker proposes state law in response to Lawrence gas explosions

Governor Charlie Baker’s plan would mandate that a professional engineer approve any engineering plans for work that could pose a material risk to public safety.

Lawrence, MA--9/13/2018-- Workers stage at Columbia Gas of Massachusetts in Lawrence. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: Reporter:

Editorial

Mass. should mandate federal safety board recommendations and end gas moratorium

The state needs to act on recommendations from the NTSB as well as end the moratoriums on new gas hookups.

Columbia Gas crews have been working to restore service in parts of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover since the Sept. 13 tragedy.

US Senate committee to hold hearing in Lawrence on gas explosions

The hearing will be held next week at South Lawrence East Middle School.

Firefighters battled one of the blazes caused by the gas explosions in Lawrence in September.

Columbia Gas engineer’s failures at root of gas explosions, NTSB says

The engineer who prepared the work plans for replacing gas mains in the Lawrence area failed to account for a critical sensor in a line that was being replaced, the agency said.

Lawrence, MA, 11/14/2018 -- Thomas Baca, 60, and his wife have been using their electric oven to warm their apartment in South Lawrence. With colder weather approaching they've finally broken down and called about getting a hotel and are waiting to hear back from Columbia Gas for arrangements. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: 15Lawrence Reporter:

Cold weather wins in race to restore gas service in Merrimack Valley

Reality has begun to settle in: Cold weather has won the race against the effort to restore gas service following the Sept. 13 natural gas disasters across Lawrence, North Andover and Andover.

Technicians worked earlier this month to replace miles of gas lines that were damaged when dozens of gas explosions ripped through three Massachusetts communities in September.

Columbia Gas three weeks ahead of schedule replacing Merrimack Valley gas mains

The utility company replaced nearly 45 miles of pipeline across the Merrimack Valley that had been damaged in the disaster.

A group of residents listened to officials at the open house.

Merrimack Valley residents voice frustration with recovery effort

Hundreds of people attended an open house with officials to discuss the progress — and problems — of repairs from the September gas explosions.

Lawrence, MA--9/24/2018-- Electricians inspect the electrical panel in the basement of a home in Lawrence. Small teams consisting of electricians, National Guard members, Mass Save workers and interpreters went house to house today in order to make sure homes had the electrical capacity to handle the free space heaters that they will be handing out. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: 25spaceheaters Reporter:

Columbia Gas may not meet Nov. 19 deadline to restore service

Thousands of people have been without heat or hot water since explosions and fires rocked the Merrimack Valley, and the deadline to restore service may be pushed back.

North Andover, MA--10/18/2018-- Linda Battalagine stopped home to feed her cats and pick up her son before heading to the Manchester, New Hampshire hotel that they're staying in after being displaced by the Columbia Gas fires and explosions. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: Reporter: Milton Valencia

In Merrimack Valley, all aspects of everyday lives are disrupted

A month has passed since the Sept. 13 natural gas disasters, and it could be at least a month before service to all customers is restored.

A Lawrence firefighter walked past a row of travel trailers Saturday.

Merrimack Valley residents seek a warm place to sleep as they await heat restoration

Row after row of travel trailers were lined up Saturday on the mud and grass of public parks across three Merrimack Valley communities.

Columbia Gas President Steve Bryant (left) looked at construction taking place on Brookfield Street in Lawrence on Sept. 24.

Gas restoration in Merrimack Valley ramps up this week

Close to 200 construction crews will hit the streets across Greater Lawrence by the end of the week in the ambitious effort to restore gas service to thousands of residents before cold weather arrives.

Food was served last month at the Lawrence Housing Authority’s Beacon Courts as part of the effort to recover from the gas explosions.

Opinion | Dan Rivera

Lawrence gets by with a lot of help from friends

In the aftermath of the Columbia Gas explosions, the mayor of Lawrence chronicles the community’s response.

Volunteers Abdoul Fatah Abolillahi (left) and Rick Simard prepared pasta and sauce for Tuesday's dinner at Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence. The center has new propane service so it can run its ovens while gas lines are shut off.

In Lawrence, volunteers celebrate the return of hot meals

Outside, the day was cold and rainy, but inside the kitchen at Cor Unum Meal Center, the ovens felt like a warm hearth — thanks to four newly installed propane tanks.

Brett Saber and Chad Hughes listened during a Columbia Gas training session in Shrewsbury.

Columbia Gas pulling workers from other states amid tight labor market

The gas company is facing a worker shortage in its bid to hire 1,300 people to assist in cleanup work in the Merrimack Valley.

Lawrence, MA--9/24/2018-- Electricians inspect the electrical panel in the basement of a home in Lawrence. Small teams consisting of electricians, National Guard members, Mass Save workers and interpreters went house to house today in order to make sure homes had the electrical capacity to handle the free space heaters that they will be handing out. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: 25spaceheaters Reporter:

Space heaters are unsafe for many homes hit by gas outages in Merrimack Valley

Inspectors going door-to-door in the Merrimack Valley have delivered just a handful of the thousands of space heaters being made available to residents.

Columbia Gas president Steve Bryant apologized to Luis Suazo, owner of Suazo Market in Lawrence; he also stopped by a construction site on Brookfield Street in the city.

Columbia Gas president pledges to reimburse customers’ costs

In his first extensive interview Steve Bryant explains the utility’s response to the disaster in the Merrimack Valley.

Joe Albanese is the founder of Waltham-based Commodore Builders and a retired Navy captain who worked with Seabees.

Retired Navy captain overseeing Merrimack Valley recovery lauded as a good fit for a complex task

Joe Albanese, founder of Commodore Builders and a retired Navy captain, was named chief recovery officer following the gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley.

Scott Regnier, a Mass Save energy specialist, inspected a boiler at a home in Lawrence. He was assisted by a National Guard member.

Lawrence homes being inspected before they get space heaters, smoke detectors

Dozens of teams were deployed Monday to do safety inspections on homes in Lawrence before the distribution of space heaters and smoke detectors.

National Guard members delivered hot plates to homes in South Lawrence on Saturday.

Fire officials warn Merrimack Valley residents to be extra careful using space heaters, hot plates

Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey reminded residents that kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts.

“This is about people, that’s why I keep saying this isn’t about gas,” says the mayor of Lawrence, Dan Rivera.

Lawrence mayor emerges as central figure in crisis response

Dan Rivera is suffering the effects of the disaster and also leading the response.

South Lawrence, MA - September 22, 2018: SPC Matthew Gallen of the Massachusetts Army National Guardhelps distribute hot plates units to residents on Springfield Street in South Lawrence, MA on September 22, 2018. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard began distributing thousands of hot plates to Merrimack Valley residents late Saturday morning, part of a massive relief effort launched following the devastating series of gas explosions and fires rocked the area more than a week ago and left thousands without gas service. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:

As relief efforts come, Lawrence residents’ ‘nerves are so on edge’

Monday will see the launch of a massive gas pipeline replacement project and the distribution of thousands of space heaters.

Gas infrastructure in Mass.: A recipe for disaster?

The gas lines that wend through the state, beneath city streets, and into people’s homes are overseen by a patchwork of bureaucracies and a regulatory system that largely trusts utility companies to police themselves.

Lawrence resident Altagracia Castellanos thanked Specialist Genesis Martinez after receiving a hot plate.

National Guard members deliver hot plates to Lawrence residents

About 7,000 hot plates are being handed out to Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover after gas explosions and fires. And space heaters will be provided to residents, but the weather will get much colder before repairs are complete.

Baker, Columbia Gas unveil massive recovery plan

A retired Navy Seabee, Captain Joseph Albanese, has been hired by Columbia to take on the role of managing the multimillion-dollar effort to restore gas service.

Gas workers tended to pipes off Brookfield Street in South Lawrence.

Gas service could take ‘several months’ to restore in Merrimack Valley

Governor Charlie Baker did not address Columbia’s prediction that it could take months, only saying that a proper plan is being put in place.

editorial

¿Son $10 millones de dólares suficientes para compensar al Merrimack Valley?

La cantidad correcta será lo que sea que se necesite para restituir los vecindarios afectados y para que las víctimas puedan rehacer sus vidas.

Lawrence, MA--9/17/2018-- A Columbia Gas worker worked on South Broadway in South Lawrence. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: 18lawrence Reporter:

Columbia Gas has a plan for speedy pipe replacement. Is it safe?

Columbia Gas wants to dramatically speed up the replacement of 48 miles of pipes in the Merrimack Valley after last week’s disaster. But experts said that plan is unrealistic and potentially dangerous.

Mourners including Miguel Rondon (left), the father of Leonel Rondon, left his funeral at St. Mary Immaculate Conception Church in Lawrence.

Lawrence teenager killed in gas explosion is mourned at funeral

Leonel Rondon was killed after a gas explosion toppled a chimney onto the car he was in. He was the only fatality in explosions and fires that rocked the Merrimack Valley.

Steve Bryant, Columbia Gas president.

Columbia Gas withdraws $33 million rate increase

The rate hike for customers was supposed to take effect while the utility is responding to a gas catastrophe in the Merrimack Valley.

Columbia Gas president Steve Bryant got a tour of a donations center set up inside the Lawrence Senior Center.

Days after Merrimack Valley disaster, Columbia Gas faces first lawsuits

The company said in a statement that it remains committed to providing compensation to the thousands affected by last Thursday’s crisis.

Pressure inside Columbia Gas pipes was 12 times higher than normal

Electricity, which was cut off last Thursday to some 18,000 customers as a safety precaution, has been fully restored.

Debris were strewn across the property on Chickering Road in Lawrence where a home had explodied.

Lawrence area residents will not have gas restored for weeks as pipes are replaced

Miles of cast-iron and steel pipes will be replaced in the Lawrence area, according to utility officials.

Lawrence police officer Ivan Soto was on duty helping people when the gas explosions and fires happened, only to find out his own home was destroyed. He's staying at the Hampton Inn in Amesbury, with his family. Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe.

Lawrence police officer discovers his own home was among the fires

With so many fires and explosions erupting in Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover, firefighters couldn’t reach Ivan Soto’s home in time.

A sign outside of a gas station in South Lawrence thanked first responders.

Amid destruction, Lawrence residents mark resilience, responders’ outreach

The evacuation order was lifted at 7 a.m. Sunday. But the hardships are not over: About 8,600 homes still have their gas service turned off, and restoring normalcy will take time.

Volunteers handed out pizza donated from Bertucci's to South Lawrence residents who were displaced from their homes wait in line to get into the Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Customer Help Center to file a claim.

Adrian Walker

A survivor of the Lawrence explosion: ‘We are homeless, but we are not family-less’

Francisco Brea was heading home to south Lawrence Thursday night when the call came from his wife: something had exploded, and flames were shooting from the chimney. His home is damaged, but his family is intact.