Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Update on Ongoing Recovery Efforts - North Andover/Andover/Lawrence
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
MASSACHUSETTS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS STATEMENT #14
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Re: Update on Ongoing Recovery Efforts - North Andover/Andover/Lawrence
Gas service to most of the 8,570 gas meters in portions of Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover remains shut off as a result of the gas line incident on September 13th. (In the last two days, 90 commercial customers have had service restored by connecting them to other gas lines.) Most buildings serviced by these meters are without heat and hot water, and gas appliances, including gas stoves and gas dryers, are inoperable. The target date for full restoration of gas service is November 19, 2018. Restoration will take place on a rolling basis.
Breakdown of the impacted gas meters by community:
Approximate number of meters serving residential buildings:
Repair, Replacement and Restoration Activities
The target date for full restoration of gas service is November 19, 2018. Restoration will take place on a rolling basis.
Exterior Repair and Replacement Activities
Columbia Gas has announced that approximately 49 miles of below-ground gas pipe needs to be repaired, replaced or bypassed. Construction work to replace the pipe has already begun.
Number of construction crews that worked yesterday: 55
Number of construction crews scheduled for today: 64
- Andover: 1
- Lawrence: 16
- North Andover: 4
- Crews purging gas across all three communities: 43
Target for number of construction crews for tomorrow (Thursday): 69
By Friday, Columbia anticipates there will be 122 construction crews working in the three communities.
- Approximately 960 of 301,334 feet of main line pipe has already been replaced
- Service lines to 44 of 6,100 residential units has already been replaced
Interior Repair, Replacement and Mitigation Activities
- Distribution of Hot Plates: On September 22, Columbia Gas began delivering, or making hot plates available to its customers in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. Customers can pick up hot plates at the three Columbia Gas Claims Centers, or can call Columbia Gas at 85-218-8816 to schedule delivery of a hot plate.
Through Tuesday, September 25th, 7,147 hot plates have been distributed:
- 5,396 in Lawrence
- 845 in North Andover
- 906 in Andover
All personnel delivering hot plates to customers will be wearing a white identification card issued by Columbia Gas.
- Distribution of Space Heaters and Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Beginning on September 24th, Columbia Gas, supported by the National Guard, is delivering space heaters and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors to residential customers in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.
Customers in Andover and North Andover who want space heaters and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors delivered to their homes must call Columbia Gas to schedule delivery. Columbia Gas Company phone number: 855-218-8816. A licensed electrician will accompany the delivery team and will inspect the electrical service in each home to determine whether, and how many space heaters can be safely used in the premises. Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors will also be installed in the spaces where space heaters will be used.
In Lawrence, space heaters and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors will be delivered door-to-door to residential gas customers. A licensed electrician will accompany the delivery team and will inspect the electrical service in each home to determine whether, and how many space heaters can be safely used in the premises. Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors will also be installed in the spaces where space heaters will be used. Customers who are not home at the time of delivery can call Columbia Gas to schedule a delivery. Columbia Gas Company phone number: 855-218-8816.
All personnel delivering space heaters to customers will be wearing a white identification card issued by Columbia Gas. The teams that are delivering space heaters are staffed by 128 assessors, 240 electricians, 20 linguists.
Home Assessments: On Wednesday, September 26, and continuing for several weeks, teams of licensed plumbers and electricians, and linguists where necessary, will begin visiting every impacted residence to do a full electrical and plumbing assessment and determine what appliances need to be replaced or repaired. To the extent possible, repairs will take place during the assessment. This assessment will help prepare customers to have gas service restored safely. Residents will receive a communication from Columbia Gas to confirm the assessment so they can plan to be home. It will take several weeks for all assessments to be completed. All personnel on the assessment teams will be wearing a white identification card issued by Columbia Gas. Today, the assessment teams are staffed by 130 plumbers, 120 electricians, 40 linguists, and 10 inspectors.
Similar assessments of the 800 impacted businesses began on September 22nd.
- Installations: Beginning on September 29th and continuing into November, licensed plumbers and electricians, appliance technicians, and linguists where necessary, will begin visiting impacted residences and businesses to install new gas appliances, such as boilers, furnaces, hot water heaters, stoves and dryers. All personnel on the installation teams will be wearing a white identification card issued by Columbia Gas.
- Effective today, Columbia Gas has deployed liaisons to the city/town halls in all three communities to enhance communication and coordination between the gas company and the municipal governments.
- Columbia Gas is finalizing the locations of Customer Care Centers in all three communities. Additionally, earlier today, Columbia Gas launched three mobile customer service vans; one in each community.
- Today, Columbia Gas/NiSource has 749 employees supporting restoration/recovery activities. Additionally, 1,411 contractors/contract employees are deployed in support of the restoration/recovery.
Key Columbia Gas Phone Numbers
- Customer Service Hotline for Affected Customers: 866-388-3239
- Property Claims Number: 800-590-5571
- Support for Affected Businesses: 603-231-7044
- Hotel Placement by Columbia: 866-294-9226
- To schedule delivery of hot plates and space heaters: 855-218-8816
- Emergency number: 888-525-8222
More information from Columbia Gas is available at: www.columbiagasma.com
Safety Information for People in Buildings Without Gas Service
- If you smell gas or smoke, notice damage to gas appliances, or other potential emergency situations, step outside and call 9-1-1.
- If you need non-emergency assistance, please call 2-1-1.
- Do not attempt to use any gas appliances until gas service has been safely restored by the gas company.
- If your gas meter has been shut off by either the gas company or you, DO NOT attempt to turn your service back on yourself. Please contact the gas company for assistance; they will send a technician to turn it back on.
- If you smell an odor of natural gas,
- Leave the building immediately and move to a safe location
- Call 911 from outside the building and call the Columbia Gas emergency number at 1-800-525-8222.
- Do not turn off gas to your house or to any appliances.
- Do not try to find the leak yourself or operate pipeline valves.
- Do not touch light switches or use any appliances that could cause a spark, including telephones.
- Do not light matches or candles.
- If you use a grill to cook, place it at least 10 feet away from your home or anything that can burn. Grills should not be used on porches or inside homes.
- Use extension cords safely. Do not overload them and always plug heavy-duty appliances, such as air conditioners and space heaters, directly into wall outlets.
- Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working. The battery backup in plug-in or hardwired alarms may need to be replaced after the extended power outage.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on family. Friends, neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live along, those with medical conditions, and those who may need additional assistance.
Residents of impacted homes may access social, health, government and community services by calling 2-1-1. Trained 2-1-1 operators will conduct a brief intake and connect callers to government, non-profit and private sector agencies and organizations in the Greater Lawrence area that can address their needs.
Total number of calls to 2-1-1 through 12 PM on September 24th regarding the gas emergency in Greater Lawrence: 4,872
Total number of visits to 2-1-1’s website through 12 PM on September 24th: 659.
Columbia Gas has established the following phone number for people who need immediate emergency housing assistance from Columbia as a result of the gas incident on September 13th: 866-294-9226. There are no emergency shelters operating at this time.
Columbia Gas Claims Centers:
Customers who have been impacted by the gas emergency can file claims at Columbia Claims Centers in the three communities, or by calling 1-800-590-5571. Columbia Gas will compensate its customers for all losses reasonably related to this incident, including, among others, losses in the following categories: 1) bodily injury; 2) damage to property; 3) disruption of businesses; 4) inconvenience and disruption of everyday activities caused by loss of use of gas service due to this event; 5) reasonable efforts to limit or mitigate the loss.
Columbia Gas will reimburse customers for reasonable costs of permanently switching to an alternative fuel source (e.g. electric or oil) for appliances or systems that were fueled by natural gas prior to the outage. If you wish to temporarily switch to appliances and systems that are fueled by sources other than natural gas for the duration of the outage, and then return to gas-fueled appliances, Columbia Gas will reimburse for reasonable costs associated with both the temporary solution as well as the return to gas-fueled appliances and systems.
Customers may elect to contract directly with an appropriate certified licensed contractor to install appliances and systems that are fueled by an alternative fuel source (e.g. electric or oil). If you do hire such a contractor, Columbia Gas requests that the licensed contractor provide you detailed receipts, including your name, service address, make/model of parts, and labor, so that Columbia Gas may reimburse you for reasonable costs.
Claims Center locations:
- Lawrence: Property Claims Center at 1 Market Street, Lawrence (closed for the day on Tuesday, September 24th. Reopening on Wednesday.)
- Andover: Property Claims Center, Old Town Hall, 20 Main Street, Andover.
- North Andover: Property Claims Center, First & Main Plaza (adjacent to CVS), 115 Main Street, North Andover.
Information about the claims process is available at: https://www.columbiagas.com/massachusetts/make-a-claim
Total of All Claims
In response to the overwhelming needs facing those affected, Governor Charlie Baker has announced the establishment of the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund through Essex County Community Foundation. Donations to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund can be made at http://eccf.org/GLdisasterrelieffund. To date, Columbia Gas has committed $10 Million to this fund.
City of Lawrence:
- For information from Lawrence, please see: www.cityoflawrence.com/gasemergency
- Hot showers are available at the Lawrence YMCA.
Town of Andover:
- For information from Andover, please visit https://andoverma.gov/
- Hot showers are available at Pomp’s Pond, 147 Abbot Street. There also is a shower for people with mobility impairments at the Andover Senior Center, 30 Whittier Court.
Town of North Andover:
- For information from North Andover, please see: https://www.northandoverma.gov/
- Hot showers are available at the North Andover YMCA.
Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
Utilizing the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), the States of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and New York have entered into agreements with MEMA to deploy state pipeline inspectors to Massachusetts to support the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in its work inspecting the pipeline construction in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
Posted by Bruce Tarr at 4:26 PM