Columbia Gas Hosts Open House to Discuss Restoration Delay

Columbia Gas and other recovery leaders held an open house at Lawrence High School on Saturday afternoon, allowing hundreds of residents to ask questions about the gas service restoration delay and other customer service issues.

The open house came a day after the utility company announced that it would not meet its self-imposed Nov. 19 deadline to restore gas service to more than 8,000 homes and businesses across the Merrimack Valley.

The new deadline is Dec. 16.

Several residents expressed concerns over holiday plans and new appliance deliveries.

“What are we supposed to do Thanksgiving? I can’t cook a Thanksgiving dinner on a hot plate,” said one woman.

“I can’t sit home for three-and-a-half weeks freezing, hoping that you’ll show up,” said one man.

The company said new appliance installations are taking longer than expected, and crews have encountered various issues — including asbestos — in some of the region’s older homes.

Columbia Gas said fewer than 30 percent of impacted customers will have to wait until December for heat and hot water. The utility company said it will contact the customers affected by the delay.

The open house in Lawrence was one of three scheduled on Saturday. There were two others in Andover and North Andover.

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