Columbia Gas has confirmed it will fully replace all gas-fueled appliances that suffered damage as a result of September's gas disaster.
The Eagle-Tribune first reported this plan on Saturday. North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor told the newspaper the gas company would be replacing all damaged appliances; but Columbia Gas refuted that claim last week. The company said it would still "repair or replace" the appliances, including stoves, dryers, furnaces and boilers.
Monday, Maylor tweeted that it was the professional opinion of both himself and Fire Chief William McCarthy that all appliances needed to be replaced. Columbia Gas responded in agreement 29 minutes later.
Columbia Gas has confirmed publicly what Maylor was told last week: that all appliances — even those that could potentially be repaired — will be fully replaced in the interest of efficiency.
"Things have to move so quickly, that just in the interest of time, I think by the time you try to repair something, its just easier to replace it with something of the same quality," said Scott Ferson, spokesman for Columbia Gas.
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera tweeted a similar sentiment to Maylor's, in support of the replacement plan.
In my professional opinion and the professional opinion of the North Andover Fire Chief, all residential gas appliances, including boilers and furnaces, that were impacted by the gas overpressurization of September 13, 2018 should be replaced not repaired.— Andrew Maylor (@Town_Mgr_Maylor) October 8, 2018
Maylor said he was pleased with the change, noting that it will hopefully mean fewer visits by Columbia Gas to individual customers and increased speed and efficiency as the company works to meet its Nov. 19 deadline to restore gas service to all customers.
"I think what we've learned through this process ... is some things went well and some not so well, and they've retooled," Maylor said. "I appreciate that. I think it's the right way to be in an unusual circumstance."
"I'm very supportive and I do appreciate the fact that they're listening to residents and they're listening to people like myself," when pointing out inefficiencies, he added.
Steve Naru, another spokesman for Columbia Gas, said Friday the company will "offer a selection of quality new appliances to replace damaged gas-fueled boilers, furnaces, heaters, ranges and/or dryers" for residents to choose from. If the homeowner is not satisfied with those options, they can either handle the replacement themselves through the claims center or the company will "find a like-quality replacement for your current gas-fueled appliance."
Naru cautioned, however, that "that scenario will likely take six to eight weeks longer for installation."
Columbia Gas reported on Monday that 18 miles of pipeline have now been replaced, with another 30 miles to go. The company has also replaced 917 service lines, 652 of which are "gas ready."