FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018
Media contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Town of Andover Provides Latest Updates on Gas Emergency Recovery Process
ANDOVER –The Town of Andover continuously seeks to provide residents and business owners with key updates regarding the ongoing recovery and restoration efforts following last month’s Merrimack Valley Gas Emergency.
Columbia Gas has today launched an interactive map that tracks the progress of the restoration effort. The map will give residents and business owners a real-time look at the local recovery process in their individual neighborhoods and help the gauge when crews will be on their streets to conduct assessments.
Also beginning today, Columbia Gas may, in some instances, begin installing replacement appliances during assessment appointments. Columbia Gas has received or ordered hundreds of water heaters, boilers, HVAC units, ranges and clothes dryers, which it will be installing free of charge.
Columbia Gas releases a comprehensive daily briefing with updates on the restoration and recovery process. Click here to read the Oct. 9 briefing.
Columbia Gas reports that 20 of the nearly 50 miles of affected pipe have been replaced as of today, and main line pipe replacements are ahead of schedule. Columbia Gas reports a total of 8,447 total gas customers are affected in the three communities.
‘House Ready’ and Assessment Process Updates
All gas customers will need an assessment of their homes, including gas lines and appliances. Crews wearing identification continue to fan out across neighborhoods. More than 3,100 assessments have been completed across the three communities.
There were 56 construction crews scheduled to work today, tomorrow and Thursday in Andover.
Below is the planned schedule for the following 72 hours where our teams will begin work. In many cases, this process will take more than one day. Customers whose streets are listed must have someone over 18 years old at home that day for work to commence. If an adult cannot be home on that day, we will be back in your neighborhood in the following days. We will continue to try to make contact until we are able to complete your in-home work.
For additional information on this process, please visit: https://www.columbiagas.com/massachusetts/restoration
Wednesday, Oct. 10
- 6-34 Foster Circle
- 4-80 Carmel Rd
- 11-98 Cheever Circle
- 5-18 Lockway Rd
- 8-96 Maple Ave
- 1-84 Walnut Ave
- 3-33 Wolcott Ave
- 11-31 Barlett St
- 10-16 Post Office Ave
- 1-9 Punchard Ave
- 304 High St
- 42 Highland VW Ave
- 2-4 Turnpike St
- 3-8 Dumbarton St
- 19 Fleming Ave
- 4-21 Liberty St
- 3-44 Sterling St
- 4-27 Sutherland St
- 12-45 Haverhill St
Friday, October 12
- 4-24 Maple Ave
- 26 Filterbred
Making a home “House-Ready” requires a number of steps, and Columbia Gas and its contract partner Gilbane Reconstruction Services (GRS) are seeking to minimize the disruption to homeowners by streamlining the process and limiting the number of visits needed to a home or business to restore natural gas service. The previously announced assessment phase will now be included as part of the installation process. This entire process includes assessments, repairs, appliance installations, and safety inspections.
What happens during the House Ready Process?
There will be a series of work teams entering homes during the House Ready process. The work teams will complete as many of the below steps as possible during their visit.
- ASSESSMENT: Work teams will evaluate and inventory natural gas appliances including boilers, furnaces, water heaters, ranges and/or dryers. Photos will be taken to document which natural gas appliances have been impacted. (Note: Some customers have already received an assessment. If that is the case, the teams will verify the information.)
In many cases, the teams will need to test for the presence of hazardous materials. The top priority is safety. Work teams will follow applicable regulations and guidelines, and will mitigate hazardous materials with trained professionals. This could extend the timeframe of the installation work in homes.
- DISCONNECT/REMOVAL: Work teams will remove natural gas appliances including boilers, furnaces, water heaters, ranges and/or dryers. Any additional specialty natural gas appliances (i.e. fireplaces, pool heaters, gas grills, etc.) will be disconnected and disabled at this time. Specialty natural gas appliances will be subject to further repair or replacement by the property owner through the claims process at 1-800-590-5571.
- RE-INSTALLATION AND RE-CONNECTION: Work teams will install new appliances and equipment in homes and reconnect them to the natural gas system. Work teams will also pressure test in-home natural gas piping to see if it is damaged. If a home or business passes the pressure test, Columbia Gas will install the natural gas furnace, or boiler, water heater, and standard range and dryer if applicable. If a home or business does not pass the pressure test, Columbia Gas will repair or replace the natural gas piping, and work teams may need to schedule a follow-up visit to complete this repair.
- SAFETY INSPECTIONS: Once a home or business passes all necessary safety inspections, a green tag will be attached near the meter bar, indicating that the home or business is “House-Ready.”
In many cases, this process of repairs and safety inspections will take more than one day to complete. If the home owner does not select the standard offering of appliances, specialty orders will be installed when available and could be delayed by several weeks.
Even if customers choose to purchase and install their own appliances, work teams will still need to conduct the assessment, disconnect and remove damaged appliances, and repair in-home gas lines.
Andover is deploying town resources each day to support the assessment effort and assist residents.
Free Parking Downtown
Due to the construction in the downtown area, the Town of Andover will not be collecting parking fees at municipal parking lots. The Town encourages downtown visitors to park in the municipal parking lots. This includes Lot 1 (between Andover Village Square and Caffé Nero), Lot 2 (behind Old Town Hall) and Lot 3 (Park Street Village). This will be evaluated on a weekly basis.
A total of 367 Andover residents from 140 different families have been placed in Alternative housing funded by Columbia Gas as of the end of the day Sunday, according to the most recent numbers released by Columbia Gas.
The housing program, which includes hotel rooms, apartments, travel trailers, and combination warming centers and shelters, is being coordinated by Columbia Gas with support from local and state agencies and other partners. Impacted customers will be able to stay in alternative housing until service to their homes is restored.
Impacted Columbia Gas customers who choose to be placed in alternative housing should call Columbia Gas’ Claims line: 800-590-5571.
Transportation arrangements will be provided for residents staying in hotels and apartments who do not have their own means of transportation.
Housing needs will continue to be assessed throughout the recovery process and additional options will be coordinated as necessary.
For additional information and slides, see: Greater Lawrence Housing Options
The Division of Insurance will host a series of information sessions on Thursday, Oct. 11 in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.
As recovery efforts continue, the Division is holding these sessions to provide consumers and businesses affected by the fires and gas explosions with information on how to file disaster- related insurance claims. Division officials will also summarize the efforts taken by the Division thus far and answer questions regarding how carriers should be responding to a homeowner or business filing an insurance claim. These sessions will also include input from insurance carriers and others providing assistance at claim centers.
Each information session will conclude with a Question and Answer period. Bilingual language assistance will be available. The session in Andover will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Andover Town Offices Board of Selectmen’s Meeting Room, 36 Bartlet St.
Residents who cannot attend the morning session in Andover are also invited to attend the session at 6:30 p.m. at the Lawrence High School Performing Arts Center, 70-71 N Parish Rd, Lawrence.
Small Business Loan Program
Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor and Andover Town Manager Flanagan late last week announced a $1 million emergency loan program for businesses impacted by the gas emergency.
The fund will offer emergency loans to eligible businesses with no payments and no interest for the first six months. For businesses that extend beyond a six month period, market rates will apply and loans will be able to be extended or restructured for multi-year term loans.
The fund opened Oct. 1, and has an expedited application and approval process, with the goal of getting all applications processed within 24 and 48 hours.
For more information visit: www.wearelawrence.org/lawrencegasresponsebusiness.
Relief Fund and Claims Center
In response to the overwhelming needs facing those impacted by the Gas Emergency, Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Dan Rivera, Town Manager Andrew Flanagan and Town Manager Andrew Maylor announced the establishment of the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance with short- and long-term shelter and sustenance needs. The Fund is being supported by donations from Columbia Gas and generous members of the community.
Resources from the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund (GLDRF) will support household units and businesses affected by the 7,500 Columbia Gas meters on the low-pressure lines in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover who have been without gas since Sept. 13.
- Online at www.GLDRF.org
- Over the phone by dialing 2-1-1, for those who cannot apply online
- In person for anyone in need of assistance at Andover’s drop-in center.
Columbia Gas Claims Center and GLDRF Hours Next Week:
Old Town Hall – 20 Main Street, Andover
Tuesday, Oct. 9 – Noon – 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 10 – Noon – 8 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 11 – Noon – 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 12 – Noon – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 13 – 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
While residents and businesses are encouraged to apply online, they will be notified within 3-5 business days regarding the status of their application regardless of which method they use to apply for assistance.
Showers for Residents
The free showers remain available for residents at Pomps Pond through at least next Friday. The showers will be open Tuesday, Oct. 9 through Friday, Oct. 12 from 4-8 p.m.
Andover Elder Services Lunch Program
Andover Elder Services is continuing its lunch program. The lunch is available for those age 60 or older for a suggested donation of $2.50 or for those under age 60 for a cost of $4.50.
Elder Services is also offering the following FREE food programs this month:
- Coffee, Tea and a Daily Snack: Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Soup Nights, Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. (RSVP requested)
Regardless of age, anyone affected by the gas emergency is encouraged to reach out to Andover Elder Services at 978-623-8321 for assistance and free/discounted meals.
Programs take place at the Andover Senior Center, 30 Whittier Court.
Town officials will continue to provide regular updates as new information becomes available.