Merrimack Valley Update from Eversource

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Merrimack Valley Residents Allowed Back Home This Morning
All Buildings Have Been Shut Off and Cleared, Most Power Restored


OVERVIEW AND SYSTEM STATUS 

Eversource and Columbia Gas crews worked through the night to shut off gas meters and make sure buildings were clear of natural gas. As of 6:00 a.m., Sunday all residences/buildings have been cleared. Residents will be allowed back into their homes by 7:00 a.m.most residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover will be allowed to return to their homes.

National Grid and Eversource have restored power to all but about 4,000 customers in the area and expect to have all but 90 restored by 8:00 a.m. and will have everyone restored by mid-day.It is important to remain alert to potential hazards as you re-enter the area. Please be on the lookout for gas leaks and call 911 if you detect one. Here is some information on how you can detect a gas leak:

A gas leak can be recognized by smell, sight, or sound. If you detect gas, leave immediately and tell us.

Smell– A pungent odor, similar to rotten eggs, is added so you’ll recognize it quickly.

Sight – You may see a white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water or blowing dust. You may also see vegetation that’s dying for no apparent reason.

Sound – You may hear roaring hissing or whistling.

A full complement of crews remain in the area throughout neighborhoods to assist residents as they return to their homes and answer any questions they may have about gas safety.

Columbia Gas has increased staffing levels in anticipation of elevated levels of calls as residents return home.

By The Numbers

Total Resources Deployed: 177

Total Gas Customer Affected: 8,570

Total Electric Customers Affected: 17,895

% of Gas Customers “Off & Clear”: 100% - 8570

% of Electric Customers Re-energized: 76.1% - 13621

 List of Critical Facilities Affected: 3

Next, Phase II:  Assuring the safety of the gas system in the area.

Phase III:  Crews will check appliances for any issues.  

Phase IV: Restoring gas service to each of the 8,600 meters. 

Eversource and Columbia gas ask any Columbia Gas customers who shut off their own gas to call Columbia Gas at 1-866-388-3239.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 keep all stakeholders updated regularly with clear and open communications throughout the process.

Regarding Eversource’s gas operations:

While we are sending support teams, we continue to staff experts to keep our own systems safe.Eversource systems are not connected to the Columbia Gas system.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, Eversource and Columbia Gas customers and our employees.If you see a fire or detect a gas leak, report it by calling our customer care team at 800-592-2000. If you detect a gas leak, always remember to leave the area immediately and call us. Thank you and stay safe. Please visit Eversource.com for more gas safety tips.

ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS

Q.)  When can I get back in my house? When will my house have gas again?

This situation is unprecedented. We have brought in scores of additional resources to restore service as soon as possible. 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. We expect it will take weeks to fully restore gas service, but some residents may be able to return to their homes before gas service is fully restored.

Q.)  I shut off my gas. How do I turn it back on?

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?

Yes, contact Columbia Gas to schedule a safety check.

Q.)  Will I still have to pay my bill when I’m not getting gas?

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?

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?

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 the people impacted by these fires and we stand ready to support these communities.If you smell natural gas, leave the area and call 911 immediately.The natural gas system in the affected areas is owned by Columbia Gas.

If you live in the Andover, North Andover and Lawrence areas of Massachusetts, please call Columbia Gas at 1-800-525-8222.Tens of thousands of outages were reported throughout the affected communities and we expect this to be at least a multi-week event.

We recognize that losing service and vacating your property is a significant disruption. Our crews are working hard to restore gas service to everyone as quickly as safety allows. We are committed to getting residents back into their homes safely and have set up a mobile command unit in Lawrence.

The safety of our crews and the public is paramount, so please stay away from all fires and gas leaks.

 

Sarah Bldogett