This page, Merrimack Valley Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency Programs, is offered by

Merrimack Valley Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency Programs

Programs to serve residents and businesses in the City of Lawrence and the Towns of North Andover and Andover

In July of 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration and Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey came to an agreement with Columbia Gas that required the company to pay $56 million for its role in the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions. These funds will provide debt relief for gas bills to thousands of low-income gas customers and enable clean energy and energy efficiency efforts in homes and buildings in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.

Eversource has acquired Columbia Gas and the settlement agreement between the two companies was reached in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the AG and the Low-Income Weatherization and Fuel Assistance Program Network. The agreement resolves the AG’s investigation into Columbia Gas for violations of the state’s consumer protection laws, along with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utility’s investigation into the company’s pipeline safety compliance and emergency response related to the September 2018 explosions.

DOER became involved with the settlement agreement to carry forward its mission to create a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future for the Commonwealth. The settlement will provide meaningful benefits to all Columbia Gas customers by ensuring a swift transition to Eversource, establishing steps to improve the safety of the distribution system, providing energy efficiency programs, and debt relief for low-income customers. As part of this settlement, $41.2 million will be allocated directly to programs for customers in the three communities directly impacted by the September 2018 explosions: Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.

Table of Contents

Community Outreach

DOER and the AG’s Office (AGO) will jointly develop and implement the clean energy and energy efficiency programs in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. In partnership with the AGO, DOER is seeking input from residents and businesses within the affected communities to develop programs that will deliver meaningful benefits for their energy bills and unlock access to existing statewide energy savings programs like Mass Save. To that end, surveys to gather information from residents and businesses will be posted here soon. 

Clean and Efficient Energy for Residents and Businesses in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover

$41.2 million will be devoted to the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund, which will be jointly overseen by the AGO and DOER. The fund will support the development of new programs that will deliver energy efficiency benefits and reduced energy bills for primarily low- and moderate-income residents of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.  

Of that $41.2 million, $25.5 million will be dedicated to new programs for low- and moderate- income residents that will be informed by community feedback, and will be implemented through partnerships with community organizations to fund: housing repairs and energy efficiency upgrades, targeted outreach and engagement with landlords and renters, and workforce development to engage local residents in the clean energy economy. 

Chart showing funding allocation of Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund.

Other Clean Energy Provisions in the Settlement

As part of this settlement, Eversource will also implement several other important clean energy programs: 

  • Eversource will prepare an analysis outlining potential decarbonization strategies for the gas business that are consistent with Governor Baker’s net-zero by 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.  

  • Eversource will commit to Massachusetts’ aggressive three-year energy efficiency plan savings goals for the customers previously served by Columbia Gas, which provides programs and significant incentives to help customers reduce their energy usage and lower their bills through insulation and heating system upgrades 

  • Eversource will fund two heat pump pilot programs, including $500,000 of funding to DOER for electrification incentives in western Massachusetts for customers impacted by the natural gas moratorium 

  • Eversource will provide a no-cost special weatherization offer to the three affected communities in the Merrimack Valley through 2021. In addition, improved communication with landlords and partnerships with local organizations as well as Spanish speaking outreach, and customer service will be provided.   

  • An energy relief fund will be established that will help approximately 26,000 low-income customers across the Eversource’s service territory by forgiving approximately $14.8 million in accumulated debt from their gas bills. 

Next Steps for Residents or Business Owners

 If you are interested in participating in these programs, are a resident of Lawrence, Andover, or North Andover, a small business or community organization, or a contractor interested in learning more, use the program contact below.

Contact

Phone

Office Phone: 617-626-7384

Available M-F 9am-5pm

Online

Alissa Whiteman alissa.whiteman@mass.gov
Date published: October 22, 2020
Feedback