The City of Somerville has issued a directive to staff informing them that, to prevent potentially unsafe conditions created by National Grid’s lockout of 1,200 workers in Massachusetts, no non-emergency permit should be issued to National Grid during this time without undergoing an additional stringent review process. Citing the concern that an “outside contractor under supervision of National Grid staff unfamiliar with our standard operating procedures would likely create significant constituent impacts and could potentially result in unsafe conditions,” the directive sets a range of requirements and stipulates permits undergo review “until we are confident that the execution of the work will be fully in adherence to our standards.” The directive goes on to state that, “through years of experience, the gas company crews and their contractors have become familiar with our requirements, and we therefore have a comfort level in issuing Occupancy Permits. The current situation with National Grid, however, presents a changed condition.”
In many locations, including Somerville, the lockout has resulted in a work stoppage for gas main relocation and replacement projects; however, in some locations, National Grid is proceeding with work utilizing management staff and outside contractors. At this time, National Grid has no active work sites in Somerville and has not requested to start any work. However, the directive has been put in to place for the event that National Grid attempts to resume non-emergency work in Somerville prior to the end of the lockout.