Like Columbia Gas, National Grid is running out of time. Columbia, of course, wants to fix its explosion-compromised system in the Lawrence area before winter sets in. But National Grid also faces tough November deadlines, with a much bigger local footprint than Columbia — 116 cities and towns in the state rely on National Grid for gas service. Of those communities, 85 are affected by a lockout that halted most routine gas hookups after the company forced out some 1,250 union workers in June amid a contract dispute. Winter moratoriums for gas work loom next month in the vast majority of those places, spokeswoman Christine Milligan says. That means many projects nearing completion could grind to a halt. National Grid, she says, is instead focusing on emergencies. Read entire article.