LAWRENCE, MA (WFSB) - The governor of Massachusetts declared that Eversource Energy will be managing the efforts on the ground going forward following the explosions on Thursday.
Governor Charlie Baker announced at a press conference on Friday that they have declared a State of Emergency, which allows them to put a different company in charge.
Baker and Lawrence, MA Mayor Dan Rivera noted that Columbia Gas has not been providing answers or solutions following the natural gas explosions on Thursday.
Norwich Public Utilities and Eversource have sent crews to help in Massachusetts.
NPU sent 13 employees on Friday, who were going door-to-door to make sure there are no more gas leaks.
Eversource sent 133 people and equipment to assist.
The explosions forced thousands of evacuations in the Massachusetts towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
Reports indicated that there were between 60 and 80 fires with 40 homes damaged.
The National Transportation Safety Board is helping to figure out the cause.
After the explosions, Columbia Gas said that 8,600 individual natural gas meters had to be shut off and inspected after the incident.
Friday morning, more than 5,000 meters still needed to be addressed.
Columbia gas had requested 500 workers and dozens of supervisors from other gas companies to help.
“NPU is ready and willing to respond to this unprecedented event in Massachusetts, sending a number of our talented personnel to assist with this critical work,” said John Bilda, general manager, NPU. “NPU’s track record of helping those in need - whenever and wherever we can - is a source of great pride for the men and women of our organization."
NPU said its assistance in inspection phase of the response will last through the weekend. Once all of the natural gas services have been shut off and inspected, the process of purging the system and reconnecting customers can begin. It said it is work that can only take place once the safety of the natural gas system in all three communities can be assured.
"Our hearts go out to our neighbors and everyone affected by this tragic event and we are thankful for the first responders. We are sending gas crews and equipment to support those communities and Columbia Gas - including 133 people, two emergency communications trailers and a mobile command unit. Our top priority is the safety of the public, our customers and our employees, and while we are sending support teams, we continue to retain the resources we need to serve our customers," said Eversource President Bill Akley.