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September 20, 2019
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Columbia Gas pulls back $33M hike request

Columbia Gas withdrew its request to elevate gas distribution rates by $33 million yesterday, within the same day they put boots on the floor to begin with replacing the entire propane distribution system from the Merrimack Valley.

The gas company really wants to “focus exclusively on service restoration and customer assistance” and “relieve customers associated with a impact of any base-rate change that will layer on top of the burden of long-term service distributions and outages.”

Columbia Gas in April asked to hike rates by $44.5 million and earlier this year agreed with Attorney General Maura Healey’s office to scale back its request to $33.Two million. Comments on that settlement agreement with Healey’s office were due yesterday.

After a gas line malfunction killed a person and injured over 24 others this morning, the gas company said its “resources and management focus are entirely subsumed operating restoration efforts also in efforts to help you customers.”

Meanwhile, Columbia Gas is being employed in collaboration together with the governor’s office and stakeholders to interchange your entire affected 48-mile cast-iron and bare steel pipeline system while in the towns of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover with state-of-the-art plastic distribution mains and service lines, and precautionary features just like pressure regulation and excess flow valves at intervals of premise.

Crews were perfecting preliminary repairs and staging equipment to replace portions of gas main pipeline from the greater Lawrence area yesterday, including Osgood and Andover streets, Kingston and Newton streets, and Brookfield and Broadway streets between Lennox and Chester streets.

“This preliminary work will help expedite pipeline option to a restricted element of the gas line from the affected region, and is not perhaps the long-term restoration efforts,” the statement said.

A small section of residents could have gas service restored from the future, including individuals who reside on Bowdoin and Jefferson streets, and Columbia Gas will get in touch with those people to notify them. Officials along with the gas company always warn residents to not ever seek to start their gas services.

Brian Dowling resulted in this report.

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