The three municipalities affected by last September’s gas explosions have reached an $80 million settlement with local gas distribution company Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Kallanish Energy reports.
Of that amount, 50% will go to Lawrence, 30% to Andover and 20% to North Andover. The utility has already paid $67.1 million of the total settlement amount to the three towns, various media reported.
The money will be used to restore roads and sidewalks, as well as associated overtime, supply and other costs. The allocation of funds was determined by miles of impacted roads and costs incurred.
“We all wish the number was higher,” Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said at a press conference about the settlement. “But if you take into account the time, value and money, and the cost of lengthy litigation … this is a good deal.”
Last Sept. 13, excessive pressure in gaslines owned by Columbia Gas caused a series of explosions and fires to occur in as many as 40 homes, with over 80 individual fires, in the municipality trio. One person was killed and 30,000 were forced to evacuate their homes.
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts’ new president Mark Kempic said he wanted to offer “a big thank you” to residents affected by the natural gas explosions and the subsequent eight-month recovery.
He called the settlement “reasonable” and said “it represents the best possible outcome.”
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