The cost of the natural-gas explosions that impacted three Boston suburbs last September is pegged at $888 million — and growing.
NiSource, Indiana-based parent company of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, talked about the huge expense in its quarterly financial report released this week, Kallanish Energy reports.
The Sept. 13 explosion in the Lawrence, Massachusetts, area killed one person, injured several others and damaged thousands of homes and businesses.
NiSource’s fourth quarter and full-year results include roughly $426 million and $888 million, respectively, in expenses associated with the explosion. The expenses are net of $135 million of insurance recoveries recorded during 2018.
During 2018, NiSource recorded a loss of roughly $757 million for third-party claims, and approximately $266 million for other incident-related expenses in connection with the Greater Lawrence incident.
“We reached a major milestone in Greater Lawrence with gas service restored to nearly all customers in mid-December, and our focus on supporting our customers in those communities continues,” said NiSource president and CEO Joe Hamrock. “We’re in the next phase of the restoration, with commitments to restoring property and streets and continued engagement with the communities.”
The company warned in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing there could be other explosion-related costs it cannot yet account for, and that it could incur losses beyond levels expected from state and federal investigations into the explosion.
“With service restored to substantially all customers in mid-December, we believe a bulk of the restoration costs are behind us,” NiSource chief financial officer Donald Brown told analysts on the financials conference call.
“We have $800 million of casualty-insurance coverage and $300 million of property insurance that we expect will recover a substantial portion of these costs.”
NiSource reported a fourth-quarter 2018 loss of $19.8 million, or 5 cents per share, and a full-year 2018 loss of $65.6 million, or 18 cents per share.
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