How NiSource Just Doesn't Get It

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(Karyn Regal/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Watching Joe Hamrock, the CEO of Columbia Gas parent NiSource, trying to spin his company’s wretched handling of the Merrimack Valley gas explosion fiasco, brought back memories of Ted Koppel, the old ABC news anchor, telling a flailing Michael Dukakis in a 1988 interview that he just didn’t “get it.” 

Speaking to reporters in the robotic monotone of someone who’s gotten an earful from panicked crisis-management advisors on what to say and what not to say, Hamrock delivered some true pearls of unpersuasive spin. 

For instance, Hamrock said “we regret the lack of communication some people experienced early on.” Actually, it wasn’t “some people,” it was everyone. 

And it’s indicative of NiSource’s corporate mindset and instincts in the wake of the disaster that--even as all other relevant officials were scrambling to communicate with people--they were unable and/or unwilling to do so. 

“We did everything we could to muster our operational resources,” Hamrock claims, and if true, that is a pathetic commentary on the company’s operations. It suggests there was no solid emergency plan, and no ability to quickly muster one. 

“Our attention has been on restoring lives,” Hamrock said, another demonstrably false claim. Tell the hundreds of Lawrence residents with damage claims who were denied the opportunity to file them yesterday because NiSource didn’t send enough paper shufflers about the company’s dedication to making victims whole. 

No, NiSource doesn’t quite seem to get it. Maybe a federal probe, congressional hearings and some lawsuits will help enhance their comprehension.

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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