A recovery process is underway this week after over 60 fires and at least three explosions broke out in homes across the Merrimack Valley last week serviced by Columbia Gas pipelines, leaving approximately 25 people injured and an 18-year-old Lawrence man dead. The event displaced thousands of Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover residents. People in houses and apartment buildings fled their homes last Thursday afternoon as firefighters stomped out the blazes and local officials cut electricity to the region as they worked to pinpoint the cause of the emergency. Leonel Rondon, a student at Phoenix Charter Academy, died after a chimney from an exploding house landed on a car he was sitting in near 35 Chickering Road in Lawrence, according to the Essex District Attorney’s office. In total, emergency personnel tackled between 60 and 80 structure fires and 150 emergency calls within hours, state officials said last week, adding that 8,100 to 8,500 gas meters were connected to the … [Read more...] about Where does the Merrimack Valley gas crisis stand now? Here’s what we know.
Utility electric and gas
By Nate Raymond BOSTON (Reuters) - A resident of a Massachusetts city rocked by last week's deadly gas blasts that damaged dozens of homes sued utility operator NiSource Inc on Tuesday, accusing it of inadequately maintaining its distribution system. The proposed class action lawsuit targets NiSource and its subsidiary Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, which services Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, three communities northwest of Boston that staged large-scale evacuations following the Thursday afternoon blasts that killed one person and injured at least 25. The lawsuit in Essex County Superior Court is the first to be filed after Thursday's explosions. It claims the gas pipeline system used by Columbia Gas to service those communities was "poorly maintained, antiquated, obsolete, and highly dangerous." Merrillville, Indiana-based NiSource did not respond to a request for comment. It has set up set up a phone centre and an office to accept residents' claims for property damage and … [Read more...] about Lawsuit targets Massachusetts utility over deadly gas explosions
Katharine Q. Seelye New York Times News Service, updated on September 15, 2018 LAWRENCE, Mass. — Emmanuel Peguero, 7, thought he had been walking for 80 miles on Saturday. And how many days would it be before he could return to his own home? One thousand, he predicted. In reality, his trek was closer to one mile. It seemed much longer, though, because of the extraordinary circumstances in which his family — and thousands of others — suddenly found themselves. On Thursday, a still-unexplained gas leak touched off scores of explosions and fires that ripped through three Boston suburbs. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, many of which are still under quarantine and in areas where multiple new gas leaks were reported on Saturday. This freak disaster and its chaotic aftermath have given rise to an unusual sight in modern-day America — a river of humanity, lugging only the belongings they can carry in overloaded wagons, roller bags, strollers, … [Read more...] about ‘I’m just glad we’re alive’: Gas leak leaves thousands displaced and afraid
MILWAUKEE — An electric utility company is asking for regulatory approval to build a $196 million gas pipeline near the Foxconn Technology Group manufacturing complex in southeastern Wisconsin.We Energies filed documents last week with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission seeking approval for the nearly 50-mile pipeline, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.The pipeline will "increase the quantity and reliability of natural gas service," the utility said.The pipeline was planned before the Foxconn project, but the company has accelerated its timeline, said Amy Jahns, a spokeswoman for the utility."Specifically, right now the (Wisconsin Department of Transportation) is doing some road work, and so we are accelerating our timetable to coordinate with the DOT," Jahns said.There are two different routes proposed for the project, though both would start in La Grange and end just west of the Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant. Both options could cover more than 200 parcels of land.The … [Read more...] about Utility company seeks gas pipeline near Foxconn complex
Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday signed into law a dramatic overhaul of regulations for Virginia’s two large electric utilities, a change that includes big boosts for grid modernization, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs but also one that opponents contend will make it difficult for state regulators to police billions in utility spending and issue customer refunds.“Today I signed legislation ending the freeze on energy utility rates, returning money to customers, and investing in clean energy and a modern grid,” Northam said on Twitter. “I am proud that my team and I improved this bill significantly and thank the General Assembly for its continued work on the measure.”The law was spearheaded by Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest utility with about 2.5 million residential and commercial customers. With increased focus on its lobbying clout this session, the company shepherded the law through a series of committee and floor debates and … [Read more...] about Governor signs sweeping utility overhaul affecting 3 million Virginia ratepayers