NiSource CEO says 'unprecedented event requires unprecedented action'
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, a unit of NiSource (NI), announced that it is "committed to completely replace the natural gas distribution system in the Merrimack Valley." It stated, "The company is developing a plan in collaboration with the Governor's Office and all stakeholders to replace the entire affected 48-mile cast iron and bare steel pipeline system in the towns of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover with state-of-the-art plastic distribution mains and service lines, and modern safety features such as pressure regulation and excess flow valves at each premise. This system, which serves approximately 8,600 customers, was involved in the tragic September 13, 2018 incident which remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board." NiSource President and CEO Joe Hamrock said, "This unprecedented event requires unprecedented action. With this incident, a life was tragically lost and thousands of other lives were directly affected. We lost the trust of this community and are 100 percent committed to restoring safety, confidence and peace of mind for everyone in this community. Over time, we hope to earn back the trust we lost during this incident." Columbia Gas of Massachusetts added that it is in the midst of a multiyear program to modernize its gas distribution system and replace cast iron and bare steel pipeline systems across the state. "Our commitment to accelerate that work in the Merrimack Valley, while larger in scale than a typical modernization project, is necessary in light of recent events. We remain committed to the modernization of all of our pipeline systems," the company said in a statement.