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NiSource names new chief safety adviser for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts

NiSource Inc. appointed Nick Stavropoulos as Columbia Gas of Massachusetts' chief safety adviser, a new senior role at the utility subsidiary, in light of recent safety issues that include a deadly series of fires and explosions in 2018.

Stavropoulos previously served as the president and COO of PG&E Corp. subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Co., when he was promoted after leading recovery and restoration efforts following the San Bruno explosion. In his new role at Columbia Gas, Stavropoulos would advise on operational safety strategy and planning across Massachusetts.

Mark Kempic would remain as Columbia Gas' president and COO. He would continue to oversee the utility's field operations, including work on abandoned service lines in the Merrimack Valley, where the September 2018 blasts occurred.

"We know that recent events have led many to lose trust in Columbia Gas and that our customers are worried about whether they are safe in their own homes," NiSource President and CEO Joseph Hamrock said. "We take responsibility for that lost sense of security, and to help rebuild confidence and trust we are bringing in an industry safety leader who knows Massachusetts."

Stavropoulos' appointment would help the utility focus on its operational priorities, such as service line verifications, Hamrock said.