Leaders of Massachusetts gas companies in hot seat at State House hearing

Massachusetts

Tuesday’s hearing was definitely tense but lawmakers got to address the concerns they had with the state’s natural gas infrastructure. 

Top executives in the hot seat included President and CEO of Columbia Gas, Steven Bryant, Senior Vice President of National Grid Ross Turrini, and Senior Director of Operations for Berkshire Gas, Richard Nasman.  

The panel took questions for more than four hours from the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.  

The committee pressed natural gas executives on their safety practices, training guidelines, and emergency response techniques following gas pipeline explosions in the Merrimack Valley.  

“So you sent three people out in this apparent emergency to handle 14 different physical locations, is that fair to say?” asked Senator Michael Barrett. 

Many questions were directed at Columbia Gas CEO, Steven Bryant, who declined to answer because of the ongoing investigation. 

When asked where each company’s control center was located, the gas executives said:

  • National Grid: Northborough, Massachusetts 
  • Eversource: Southborough, Massachusetts
  • Berkshire Gas: Orange, Connecticut
  • Columbia Gas: Columbus, Ohio

Each control center receives the first signal if a problem arises with the companies natural gas lines. 

Members of the committee recommended ways the companies could improve both safety and performance standards in the future. 

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