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Friday, October 05, 2018
Columbia Gas Announces 'House Ready' Plan for Greater Lawrence Area
Greater Lawrence Area Incident

LAWRENCE, Mass., Oct. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, a unit of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), today announced additional details of the plan to restore gas service to customers in the Greater Lawrence area, including planned assessments and appliance installations, in coordination with the previously announced 'Gas Ready' construction schedule.

The 'House Ready' plan outlines details for the in-home and in-business assessments, appliance installations and the final safety checks required to restore gas service.

What You'll See
Full assessments of homes and businesses are continuing. The installation process, driven by what's learned during the full assessments, will align closely with the 'Gas Ready' construction plan scheduled to be complete by November 19.

Our contract partners, Gilbane Reconstruction Services, will follow a block approach to assign crews in the field, based on experience developed in their response to Hurricane Sandy. Similar to a production line, they will follow streets and blocks in a neighborhood and deploy crews to disconnect and remove damaged appliances, repair or replace in-home gas lines, and connect new appliances to make the home 'Gas Ready'.

With 63 projects across the 8 zones, there will be multiple blocks within each of the zones. 

  • Customers will be notified by Columbia Gas when to expect installation crews to be in their block. A new interactive map will be available on Monday, October 8 at www.ColumbiaGasMA.com, which will enable customers to check the status of projects in their neighborhood.  
  • Customers working through the claims process should continue to work with their claims adjuster. Additional information on claims is available on ColumbiaGasMA.com.

"The next steps of our mission to restore natural gas service are dependent upon our ability to access homes and businesses," said Joe Albanese , Chief Recovery Officer for the project. "The new interactive map will help bring clarity to customers as to when construction and restoration work is planned for their area."

Added Pablo Vegas , Chief Restoration Officer for NiSource, parent company of Columbia Gas. "We have rapidly increased staffing to enable the progressive restoration of natural gas service. Customers can expect more details early next week regarding the 'House Ready' process and weekly updates on our progress until we complete our work."  

The path to service restoration includes three areas of work:

  • Making Your Home or Business 'Gas Ready:' Construction crews will install the main gas line on your street that brings gas into the area. Service lines will connect your home or business to the main line.
  • Making Your Home or Business 'House Ready:' Assessment teams will, if they have not already, visit your home or business to assess your natural gas appliances and piping, and review options with you. The installation process will complete repairs and connect new appliances.
  • Natural Gas Service Relight: To restore natural gas service to your home or business, all work inside and outside your home or business must first be completed. Once your home or business is both 'Gas Ready' and 'House Ready,' a Columbia Gas representative will visit your home or business, perform additional safety checks and restore your natural gas service.

Our ability to relight and restore natural gas service is dependent on the home or business being both 'Gas Ready' and 'House Ready.' We are growing the 'House Ready' workforce each week and aim to complete the project by November 19. Columbia Gas currently has more than 3,000 employees and contractors dedicated to the restoration of gas service in the Greater Lawrence area.

Columbia Gas and contracted construction teams have already begun restoration efforts in all three communities of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover, including assessments and installations.

Customers who have specific needs should continue to contact Columbia Gas' claims line at 800-590-5571, option 3. Columbia Gas is also providing alternative housing options with additional information available on the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website. Columbia Gas will share weekly updates about construction and service restoration at www.ColumbiaGasMA.com and on Facebook andTwitter

About Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts delivers clean, affordable and efficient natural gas to over 320,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Massachusetts, the greater Springfield area and the Merrimack Valley.  Headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, the company is the largest gas-only provider in the state and is one of NiSource's seven regulated utility companies.  NiSource (NYSE:NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands.  More information about Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is available at www.ColumbiaGasMA.com.

About NiSource
NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across seven states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. Based in Merrillville, Indiana, NiSource's approximately 8,000 employees are focused on safely delivering reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities we serve. NiSource has been designated a World's Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute since 2012, is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability - North America Index and was named by Forbes magazine as the top-rated utility among America's Best Large Employers in 2017. Additional information about NiSource, its investments in modern infrastructure and systems, its commitments and its local brands can be found at www.nisource.com. Follow us at www.facebook.com/nisource, www.linkedin.com/company/nisource or www.twitter.com/nisourceinc. NI-F

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SOURCE Columbia Gas of Massachusetts

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