Healey Demands Answers From Columbia Gas On Safe Restoration of Gas Service

first_imgBOSTON, MA — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today sent a letter to Columbia Gas demanding answers about the company’s plans for the safe and expeditious restoration of gas and fair compensation for affected residents in the Merrimack Valley following the devastating fires and explosions earlier this month.“In the wake of this tragedy, I have heard from many residents and businesses who have suffered significant losses yet remain in the dark about Columbia Gas’ claims process and the plans for restoring gas service,” said AG Healey. “I am demanding information from Columbia Gas about their specific plans because these people need and deserve answers and clarity as they rebuild their lives and communities.”In her letter, AG Healey notes that the failure of the Columbia Gas distribution system resulted in death, serious injury, the loss of homes and small businesses, and disruption of gas services for heating, hot water and cooking for thousands of residents in the company’s Merrimack Valley territory.As the state’s ratepayer advocate and chief law enforcement officer, AG Healey is committed to ensuring that Columbia Gas lays out their plan for implementing the recovery process, including gas restoration and compensation for those affected, and that ratepayers do not bear any of the costs associated with those efforts.The letter requests a meeting with Columbia Gas executives next week to discuss how they plan to implement the recovery effort, specifically:Ensuring that pipes are replaced in a safe manner and that the new pipes will result in a safe gas distribution service going forward.Ensuring the safety of all its Massachusetts territories while working on recovery efforts in its Merrimack Valley territory.Making sure that customers are receiving timely and complete information regarding the company’s restoration plan, including considering a text-messaging or similar real-time communications system (with an opt-out provision) that would reach all affected customers.Developing a plan for paying the electric bills of its customers who are forced to rely on electric space heaters and hot plates.Accommodating customers who choose to make alternative housing arrangements.Clarifying how the company intends to pay customers for losses incurred related to this disaster.Providing the AG’s Office with copies of the company’s internal claims procedure and any claims form it intends to use.Ensuring affected customers can easily obtain alternative heating sources for their homes and, if they choose, permanently transition to energy efficient, clean technologies without any additional costs.Addressing how work will be completed if a property owner is not present to authorize repairs.Clarifying in a written statement its plan to not bill affected customers for any gas service until service is restored.Confirming and ensuring that customers will not pay for any part of this disaster through the regulatory ratemaking process.Earlier this week, AG Healey sent Columbia Gas and NiSource orders to preserve documents for a potential state investigation.AG Healey has also issued two advisories offering guidance and resources in her office to support Merrimack Valley residents and businesses recovering from this tragedy. The AG’s Office issued an advisory about giving wisely to charities and knowing your consumer rights and this week announced a new hotline for residents and business owners with questions and concerns to connect with specialists in the office. The AG’s Office also provided guidance about legal representation and home improvement scams. The AG’s Office has been and will continue to send staff to assist individuals at the claims center in Lawrence.For more information or assistance, contact the Attorney General’s dedicated hotline for Merrimack Valley residents at (617) 573-5370. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Consumers can also obtain guidance and resources at the AG’s dedicated webpage at mass.gov/ago/merrimackvalley.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedAttorney General Files Comments with FERC Urging Caution on Kinder Morgan PipelineIn “Government”Lender To Cancel $1.6 Million In Loans Made To Former ITT Tech Students At Wilmington & Norwood CampusesIn “Government”Attorney General Awards Middlesex Sheriff’s Office A Healthy Summer Youth Jobs GrantIn “Police Log”last_img read more

Syrian Kurds recapture areas of Kobane from ISIS

first_imgTop Kurdish officials said their fighters were advancing ‘street by street’ and voiced confidence that ISIS would soon be ejected from the town.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said the latest advances were mainly in the south of the besieged town.‘The (Kurdish) People’s Protection Units (YPG) recaptured streets and buildings in the south of Kobane, after a fierce battle against IS that began yesterday (Monday) evening,’ the Observatory said. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenThe monitor also said the YPG and its Iraqi peshmerga allies shelled IS positions on Tuesday elsewhere in Kobane.Kobane has been under siege from IS since mid-September and more than 1,000 people have been killed in the fighting, most of them jihadists.Syria’s Kurds have been backed by Iraqi peshmerga fighters and Syrian rebels in their fight for the town, as well as a wave of air strikes by the US-led coalition against IS. Syrian Kurdish chief Saleh Muslim said YPG forces were advancing ‘street by street’ and that they would ‘recapture the town in a very short time’. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanThe Kurds’ top field commander in Kobane, Narin Afrin, a 40-year-old woman, said by telephone: ‘We have been resisting for 56 days in very difficult conditions.’ ‘We will liberate the town house by house, and we are determined to exterminate terrorism and fundamentalism,’ she said.Kobane has become a symbol of resistance against jihadists who control swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, committing brutal abuses against rivals and the local population.last_img read more