State Orders Columbia Gas to Cease All Non-Emergency Work Across Massachusetts

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

One week after a gas leak described as “major” forced the evacuation of 146 homes locally in Lawrence’s South Broadway area, the state’s Department of Public Utilities has ordered Columbia Gas to cease all non-emergency work in Massachusetts.

In a letter to Columbia Gas President Mark Kempic Thursday, DPU Chairman Matthew H. Nelson said “troubling issues” – led officials to impose the restrictions. In addition to the recent Grade 1 gas leak in Lawrence, Nelson also pointed to Columbia’s Sept. 11 report of issues relating to abandoned service lines from the September 2018 Merrimack Valley gas disaster.

Columbia Gas has vowed to fully comply with the state’s request.

“To ensure our customers can feel safe in their homes and businesses, we will be ceasing non-emergency work in Massachusetts effective immediately,” Columbia Gas said in a statement. “We agree with the Department of Public Utilities that this is the appropriate and responsible course of action. We recognize many have lost their sense of security and we take responsibility for that.”

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