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Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Columbia Gas Launches "Back-to-Business" Initiative, Improved Claims Process, To Enhance Support to Affected Businesses

LAWRENCE, Mass., Oct. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, a unit of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) is today announcing a "Back-to-Business" initiative for businesses in the area affected by the September 13 event, designed to streamline and expedite the process of approving claims and restoring gas service so businesses can quickly return to normal operations.

"Assisting businesses is not a one-size-fits all approach," said Joe Albanese , Chief Recovery Officer for the Greater Lawrence restoration project, as appointed by Governor Baker . "The goal of the  'Back-to-Business' initiative  is to address specific needs for each business and help shepherd them through the process, whether that's answering general questions, installing equipment or managing insurance claims. Our aim remains to provide prompt and ongoing assistance to businesses that need it, and get them back in business."

"Nearly 700 businesses have been affected by this tragic event. While 80% of those businesses are currently open, Columbia Gas is working hard to help all impacted businesses serve their communities just as they did before the September 13th incident," said Pablo Vegas , Chief Restoration Officer for Columbia Gas. "We recognize the impact the incident of September 13th has had on the local business community, and the challenges they will continue to have even after gas service is restored.  We are committed to helping these businesses get back up and running as soon as possible."

The "Back-to-Business" Initiative and Centers

The "Back-to-Business" initiative will assign a project manager to each business owner who will be responsible for addressing the businesses' unique needs in order to make the business ready to receive natural gas. The project managers will proactively reach out to business owners to introduce themselves and will begin visiting businesses in the coming days. For bilingual and Spanish-speaking business owners, linguists will partner with project managers throughout the process and will be on site for business visits. Under the direction of each project manager will be a fully integrated team including claims adjustors, plumbers, laborers and electricians to quickly restore business customers.

The "Back-to-Business" initiative's integrated teams will work out of three business centers, located in each of the affected communities.  These centers will serve as the operation center for construction operations managers, claims representatives and linguists, and will work to build customized plans for each business based on their assessed needs.  While business owners will be hearing from their project manager proactively, these centers are open to the public should business owners choose to visit them during the claims and recovery process.

The locations of the "Back-to-Business" Centers, which will be open beginning Thursday, October 18 at noon, are:

20 Main Street, Andover, MA 01810
Monday through Friday - 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
Saturday - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Construction Operations Manager  Jeff McCaples

439 South Union Street, Lawrence, MA 01843 (1 Heritage Place)
Monday through Friday - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Construction Operations Manager Derrick Seitz

North Andover
115 Main Street, North Andover, MA 01845
Monday through Friday - 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Construction Operations Manager Charlie Romano

Expedited Claims Process

For those businesses that are using the new Columbia Gas business services, the company will provide an expedited claims process that will make it easier for business customers to streamline installation and repair of gas-related equipment.

If the size of a claim is under $25,000, the approval process will occur on site during a site visit.  For claims between $25,000 and $100,000 the approval process will occur within 24 hours, and for claims more than $100,000 the approval process will occur within 48 hours.

Designated claims adjustors will be made available to provide concierge services to businesses in navigating the process.

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


News Provided by Acquire Media

Posted In Financials

Written By News Desk, NiSource

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