LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts officials are placing additional restrictions on the utility company blamed for last year’s destructive gas explosions following a major gas leak that prompted evacuations last week.
The state Department of Public Utilities said in a letter Thursday that Columbia Gas must halt any non-emergency work across its service area unless it gets state approval.
The agency earlier this week ordered the utility to complete a number of new safety measures, including submitting by Monday a plan to address 2,220 old service lines abandoned during its systemwide pipeline upgrade in Lawrence.
It said Columbia Gas will be fined up to $1 million per violation if the orders aren’t carried out.
The company said in a statement that the agency’s latest directive is “the appropriate and responsible course of action.”