FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 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 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.
Columbia Gas releases a daily briefing updating the restoration process. Click here to read the Oct. 16 briefing.
Approximately 29 miles of service pipelines have been replaced so far. A total of 65 construction crews are working in Andover today, with 66 crews expected on Wednesday and 63 on Thursday and Friday.
Columbia Gas produces a schedule where teams will begin work over the next 72 hours. To view the schedule click here.
Temporary Heating Update
Columbia Gas announced today that it no longer intends to collect temporary heating sources it had distributed to residents during the recovery process. Residents will be allowed to keep any temporary heating sources they received, but may request to have any such items removed upon completion of restoration work.
Residents who chose to purchase their own temporary solutions for heating only may be reimbursed through the Columbia Gas claims process.
If a residential customer wishes to temporarily switch to appliances and systems that are fueled by sources other than natural gas for the duration of the service outage, and then return to natural gas-fueled appliances, Columbia Gas will reimburse them for reasonable costs associated with both the temporary solution as well as the return to natural gas-fueled appliances and systems.
As of the end of Sunday, the most recent numbers released, 571 Andover residents are currently in alternative housing, including hotels and trailers.
Impacted Columbia Gas customers who choose to be placed in alternative housing while their homes are without gas 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.
With temperatures beginning to drop on a more consistent basis, a congregate shelter has been established for those in need. It is capable of hosting up to 1,000 people and will have hot meals available. The shelter is located at 46 Stafford St., Lawrence.
The congregate shelter has been established as a warming center with showers, and can accommodate residents for short-term overnight stays.
For additional information and slides, see: Greater Lawrence Housing Options
‘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. The interactive map will alert residents about when they can expect an assessment crew.
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 on the listed day in order for work to commence. If an adult cannot be home on that day, crews will be back in the same neighborhood in the following days.
When possible, Columbia Gas is replacing gas-fired appliances immediately. The company has thousands of boilers, water heaters, clothes dryers and ranges in stock and more on order.
For additional information on this process, please visit: https://www.columbiagas.com/massachusetts/restoration
Andover is deploying town resources each day to support the assessment effort and assist residents.
Tax Extension for Merrimack Valley
For those affected by the recent gas emergency, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue recognizes that taxpayers in these areas might be unable to comply with their filing or payment due dates that occurred on or after the date of the explosions. The DOR announced Friday that it would like to assist taxpayers as much as possible.
The Department of Revenue is waiving all penalties associated with late-filed tax returns or payments that were due on or after Sept. 12 and before Nov. 1.
If any taxpayer in the affected areas receives a penalty for this period they should call 617-887-6367.
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.
Relief Fund and Claims Center
The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund has been established 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 GLDRF will support household units and businesses affected by the 7,500 damaged Columbia Gas meters on the low-pressure lines in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover who have been without gas since the crisis began.
To learn more and apply for assistance through the GLDRF, you can do so in one of the following ways:
1. Online at www.GLDRF.org
2. Over the phone by dialing 2-1-1, for those who cannot apply online
3. In person for anyone in need of assistance at Andover’s drop-in center.
GLDRF Hours Next Week:
Old Town Hall – 20 Main Street, Andover
Monday, Oct. 15: 4-6 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 16: 4-6 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 17: 4-6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 18: 4-6 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 19: 4-6 p.m.
While residents and businesses are encouraged to apply online, they will be notified within three to five business days regarding the status of their application regardless of which method they use to apply for assistance.
The Claims Center will be open Monday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.