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The Department of Public Utilities opened two investigations into the deadly 2018 explosions

State Holding Hearings, Seeking Public Comments On Columbia Gas

by Christopher Huffaker, Patch

The state is holding two public hearings in the next month as part of the investigations it opened in October into the deadly 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions. The investigation came on the heels of the National Transportation Safety Board final report on the incident, which found that "weak engineering management" by Columbia Gas was responsible for the deadly explosions. The September 2018 accident ultimately killed one, injured 22, and damaged 131 structures in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover, as well as leaving many residents unable to return to their homes for months.

The Department of Public Utilities opened two investigations, one into the company's "responsibility for the September 13 Event as well as its restoration efforts following the incident," while the other looks at a six areas related to the event and the restoration, including its communication with local public safety officials.

Documents related to the investigations can be looked up at the Department's website, using the docket numbers 19-140 and 19-141.

The two public hearings are scheduled for the following dates:

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 North Common Education Campus 233 Haverhill Street Lawrence, Massachusetts 01840 Time: 6:00 p.m.


Monday, February 10, 2020 J. Everett Collins Center for the Performing Arts 100 Shawsheen Road Andover, Massachusetts 01810 Time: 6:00 p.m

The Department's notice explains how to submit comments for the proceedings: "Any person who desires to file written comments or to participate otherwise in either of these proceedings shall file an original and one (1) copy of such written comments or petition for leave to intervene in the proceeding(s) with Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 10, 2020, and serve one copy on counsel for the Company, Cheryl Kimball, Esq. , Keegan Werlin LLP, 99 High Street, Suite 2900, Boston, Massachusetts 02110."


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