September 2019, Vol. 246, No. 9

Global News

NiSource Settles Mass. Gas Explosion Lawsuits for $143 Million

Utility operator NiSource agreed to pay $143 million to settle class action lawsuits related to a series of gas explosions in three suburban Boston communities last year.

NiSource and its Columbia Gas of Massachusetts unit said the deal resolves claims by thousands or residents and businesses affected by the blasts, which killed one person, injured at least 21 others and destroyed multiple buildings.

The explosions in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover, communities northwest of Boston, occurred while Columbia Gas was replacing cast-iron pipe with plastic lines and prompted large-scale evacuations of thousands of residents.  The class-action settlement is separate from agreements struck with the three impacted cities and with the family of a teenager who died.

“What happened last September was tragic, and we will always be mindful of its impact on our customers and everyone in the communities we serve, including those represented by this settlement,” NiSource Chief Executive Joe Hamrock said in a statement.

In November 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board said NiSource failed to adequately draft and oversee natural gas pipeline work orders and those lapses led to the incident. Federal investigations related to the disaster are ongoing. P&GJ

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