Util­ity firm or­dered to stop nat­u­ral gas work

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - REMEMBERING -

BOS­TON — The util­ity com­pany in­volved in last month’s ex­plo­sions and fires in three Mas­sachusetts com­mu­ni­ties has been or­dered by state reg­u­la­tors to halt all non­emer­gency nat­u­ral gas work.

The mora­to­rium im­posed Fri­day by the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Util­i­ties cov­ers all parts of the state ser­viced by Columbia Gas. While of­fi­cials say the or­der won’t in­ter­rupt the on­go­ing restora­tion of nat­u­ral gas to cus­tomers in Lawrence, An­dover and North An­dover, any other work must be ap­proved in ad­vance by the agency.

An agency spokesman said the di­rec­tive fol­lows a pre­lim­i­nary re­port is­sued Thurs­day by the Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board on the Sept. 13 deadly disas­ter. Columbia Gas said it won’t com­ment un­til the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­plete.

The re­port found over­pres­sur­iza­tion dur­ing a pipe­line re­place­ment project led to the ex­plo­sions and fires that killed one and in­jured 25 oth­ers.

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