Massachusetts Natural Gas Company to Provide $10M in Grants to Nonprofits

The charitable arm of the gas company blamed for a series of natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts two years ago said it will provide $10 million to support nonprofits in the three communities affected by the disaster.

The NiSource Charitable Foundation, supported by NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, said the money would be spread over five years.

The $10 million will be used to provide grants supporting basic needs including food, shelter and heating assistance; economic and job development; emergency assistance and disaster preparedness; STEM education; and environmental stewardship.

Grant applications in amounts up to $250,000 will be accepted until Dec. 4, and recipients will be notified in March.

The explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover in September 2018 killed one person, injured almost two dozen and damaged more than 100 buildings. Federal investigators blamed the explosions on overpressurized gas lines.

“Even though NiSource may not be operating in Massachusetts in the future, it is still important to us to continue to stand with and support the communities of Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover.” Joe Hamrock, CEO and President of NiSource, said in a statement.

The company has already agreed to pay a $143 million settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit, a $53 million federal fine, and $56 million settlement with the state. Also, Columbia Gas has agreed to cease doing business in the state as of Nov. 1 and transfer its assets to another utility, Eversource.