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Columbia Gas was ordered to stop all work across the state


ANC: THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES HAS ORDERED COLUMBIA GAS TO STOP ALL NON-EMERGENCY WORK ACROSS THE STATE. 22NEWS REPORTER TASHANEA WHITLOW FOUND OUT THE ORDER CAME ABOUT AFTER A REPORT BLAMED A HIGH PRESSURE PIPELINE FOR LAST MONTH’S DEADLY EXPLOSIONS THAT ROCKED THE MERRIMACK VALLEY. TASHANEA WHITLOW: THAT’S RIGHT, UNLESS THE DEPARTMENT APPROVES OTHER WORK, COLUMBIA GAS IS TO FOCUS ONLY ON EMERGENCY REPAIRS AND REQUIRED COMPLIANCE. THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CAME, AFTER A REPORT FROM THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD SHOWED THAT “HIGH-PRESSURE NATURAL GAS HAD BEEN RELEASED INTO A LOW-PRESSURE SYSTEM.” THIS THEN TRIGGERED THE SERIES OF GAS EXPLOSIONS THAT KILLED A TEENAGER AND LEFT THOUSANDS WITHOUT SERVICE. THE D-P-U HAS ORDERED A MORATORIUM ON ALL WORK, EXCEPT IN EMERGENCY AND COMPLIANCE SITUATIONS. A CUSTOMER TOLD 22NEWS SHE HASN’T LOST FAITH IN THE COMPANY. LAURIE JACKSON, SPRINGFIELD I’VE HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WITH THE COMPANY. I’VE NEVER HAD AN ISSUE. AND WHEN I HAD A GAS LEAK, A FEW YEARS AGO, THEY CAME RIGHT OUT AND ADDRESSED IT…RIGHT AWAY. TASHANEA: COLUMBIA GAS IS RESTRICTED FROM WORKING UNTIL DECEMBER 1ST AT THE EARLIEST. GAS SERVICE TO THOSE AFFECTED CUSTOMERS SHOULD BE RESTORED BY NEXT MONTH. THE D-P-U IS ALSO IN THE PROCESS OF HIRING AN INDEPENDENT EVALUATOR TO INSPECT PIPELINE INFRASTRUCTURE THROUGHOUT THE STATE. TASHANEA WHITLOW: 22NEWS CONTACTED COLUMBIA GAS SEVERAL TIMES TO FIND OUT HOW SERVICE IN THE PIONEER VALLEY WILL BE AFFECTED. WE’RE STILL WAITING TO HEAR BACK. TW 22NEWS.

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