Gas Safety & Responsibility


The Merrimack Valley gas explosions last Fall were a tragedy, robbing one young man of his life and forever changing the lives of many people living in that region. After years of changes pushed for and accomplished by reformers including Rep. Ehrlich, the time has come for a more comprehensive approach to public safety and sustainability. Having spearheaded two landmark laws that included the establishment of the uniform gas leak grading system, gas leak repair requirements, and pipe replacement acceleration Rep. Ehrlich this session is filing several gas-related bills.

One of those bills is An Act relative to natural gas safety and responsibility, filed alongside State Senator Barry Feingold (Andover) and State Representative Frank Moran (Lawrence), would alter state law to protect gas customers, create enforcement measures for gas companies failing to meet their obligations, requiring the repair of certain gas leaks and greater transparency from the DPU. The bill also provides for regulations for how utilities shall provide services during declared emergencies. In such an event, state input would be mandated to make sure that companies don’t leave customers out in the cold, literally. In addition, this bill requires gas companies to be ready for future emergencies.

Gas companies can and must do more do prepare for future disasters, including repairing leaks and being more transparent. Much was learned from the explosions about what preparation is needed. This bill takes important steps to make sure companies are able to respond to future crises.