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Columbia Gas president says second phase of repairs 'substantially' completed

by Breanne Edelstein, Eagle Tribune

Columbia Gas' presence in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover over the past 11 months is seen in hundreds of kitchens and driveways, on sidewalks and behind detour signs blocking torn up roads.

As the Sept. 13 anniversary of the Merrimack Valley gas disaster nears, the company responsible for the explosive damage across three communities last year has "substantially" completed its second phase of repairs, President Mark Kempic said while addressing the media Thursday.

Kempic said Columbia Gas workers have paved more than 150 driveways, sidewalks and private streets, as well as four state roads. There have been 870 projects involving poured concrete, according to the company's tally. More than 3,500 properties have been aesthetically improved with seeding, in addition to landscaping and greenery.

The company has also replaced heating and gas appliances for thousands of customers impacted by the disaster resulting from an over-pressurized gas line.

"This fulfills Columbia Gas’ commitment to replace by Sept. 15, 2019, those affected appliances and equipment in customers’ homes which were only repaired in fall of 2018," according to a statement from Columbia Gas on Thursday.

Kempic made clear while addressing the media that "while we've done a lot of work, we have a lot to do," he said. "We're here for the long-term."

The Lawrence Customer Care Center for in-person support will remain open until September 2020. A customer care line, which is used to call in issues related to appliances installed or repaired through Columbia Gas, will be up and running until May 2020.


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