Mass. Officials Order Additional Safety Measures After Gas Leak

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts officials say the utility company blamed for last year’s destructive gas explosions faces millions of dollars in fines if it fails to complete additional safety measures following a major gas leak that prompted evacuations last week.

The state Department of Public Utilities has ordered Columbia Gas to submit by Monday a plan to address 2,220 old service lines abandoned during its systemwide pipeline upgrade in Lawrence.

The agency also ordered the company to inspect more than 700 homes by Oct. 18 and hire an independent auditor to review its upgrade work. It says Columbia Gas will be fined of up to $1 million per violation if the orders aren’t carried out.

A company spokesman says it’s working to comply with the orders and apologizes for the inconvenience to customers.

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