Monday, October 1, 2018

Update on Ongoing Recovery Efforts - North Andover/Andover/Lawrence

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency



Monday, October 1, 2018

4:30 PM

Re: Update on Ongoing Recovery Efforts - North Andover/Andover/Lawrence


Gas service remains shutoff to most of the 7,740 gas meters in portions of Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover that are tied to the low pressure gas line that failed on September 13th.  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 by November 19, 2018.  Restoration will take place on a rolling basis.

Restoration Process

The restoration process includes two key steps – becoming “House Ready” and becoming “Gas Ready”.

Becoming “House Ready” includes first assessing the natural gas appliances and piping in a home or business, and subsequently making necessary repairs and installing identified appliances. A green tag is then placed on the meter bar representing that the dwelling address is “House Ready”. 

Becoming “Gas Ready” includes replacing the main gas line that brings natural gas into the area, replacing the line connecting the home or business to the main line, and installing the gas meter on the home or business. A yellow tag is then placed on the meter bar representing that the dwelling address is “Gas Ready”. 

These key steps must both be completed – although not in any particular order – before service can be restored to a home or business.

For information on the restoration process from Columbia Gas, visit

Construction Update

Beginning the week of October 1, you will see a significant increase in construction activity as crews and partners continue rebuilding the gas system and restoring service in the Andover, Lawrence and North Andover communities.

Updated lists on construction crews are available on

Home Assessments

Crews are visiting impacted homes to begin assessments. A qualified electrician and plumber will inspect the natural gas appliances for damage, and test interior gas lines and electrical panels. This assessment will include an evaluation of the space heat requirements and the installation of smoke alarms/CO detectors as appropriate. If a home has the electrical capacity to safely support a space heater, the assessment teams will provide them when they visit a home. Residents should receive an automated phone call several days before teams arrive in your neighborhood in order to give you an approximate date for this assessment.

The streets targeted for assessments are updated on

Updated information on assessments also is available on

All personnel wear and display white identification badges issued by Columbia Gas. If you are not sure about a phone call, email, program, offer or person claiming to be affiliated with Columbia Gas, call Columbia at 1-866-388-3239.

Mobile Customer Care

Mobile customer resource centers will be deployed to communities within the affected communities in the Greater Lawrence area. Representatives staffing the units will be able to answer questions and provide customers with helpful information.

For updated locations on mobile units, visit

Career Fair

Columbia Gas hosted a Career Fair today from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the ValleyWorks Career Center of Lawrence to recruit for linguists and customer care advisors. You can also contact the job hotline at 1-866-960-7285.

Columbia Gas Claims Centers

Columbia Gas is accepting claims from both residential and business customers. Call 1-800-590-5571 to file a claim over the phone or visit one of our Property Claims Centers. Keep track of receipts and expenses. Visit for additional information.

Key Columbia Gas Phone Numbers

Customer Service Hotline for Affected Customers: 1-866-388-3239

Property Claims Number: 1-800-590-5571 (including alternative housing assistance)

Gas Emergency: 1-800-525-8222

More information from Columbia Gas is available at

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,

o   Leave the building immediately and move to a safe location

o   Call 911 from outside the building and call the Columbia Gas emergency number at 1-800-525-8222.

o   Do not turn off gas to your house or to any appliances.

o   Do not try to find the leak yourself or operate pipeline valves.

o   Do not touch light switches or use any appliances that could cause a spark, including telephones.

o   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. 


Recovery 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.

Web hits for the same time frame are:  2156

Total number of calls to 2-1-1 through noon, Monday, October 1 regarding the gas emergency in Greater Lawrence: 5,818

Total number of visits to 2-1-1’s website noon, Monday, October 1: 2156

Columbia Gas is operating a call center for impacted customers.  The phone number of the call center is:  866-388-3239. 

Customers who need alternative housing assistance from Columbia as a result of the gas incident on September 13 should contact the Claims Center at 1-800-590-5571.  There are no emergency shelters operating at this time.