MINNEAPOLIS - February 10, 2011 - As Minnesotans experience record snow and ice accumulation, CenterPoint Energy would like to remind the public of important tips to stay safe, prevent service interruption and ensure proper meter operation. Snow and ice accumulation on or near the natural gas meter set or above a meter set on a roof can cause potentially dangerous conditions; including natural gas buildup in homes and businesses and even service disruptions. Accumulations of snow and ice can affect proper operation or ventilation of the regulator. Regulators are designed to maintain a constant pressure, ensure safe delivery of natural gas and vent natural gas safely to the atmosphere. Snow can block vents and freeze the meter causing improper operation. Thawing snow or ice dams from rooftops above the meter should be kept clear to prevent the dam from falling on the meter set. Additionally, customers should maintain a clear path to the meter set to provide easy access to the natural gas meter.
To help ensure safe operation:
Keep the meter area and a path to the meter clear of snow and debris. Snow removal and a clear path to natural gas equipment is the responsibility of the property owner.
Ensure that snow removal equipment and plows to not deposit snow and ice onto or near natural gas meters and regulators.
Do not use a snow blower or shovel near the meter or attempt to remove ice from the meter yourself. You can use a broom or your hand to keep the snow cleared around the piping and on top of the meter assembly.
Ensure your home and business venting systems and outdoor fresh air intakes to natural gas equipment are clear of snow and ice and not clogged. Blocked vents and intakes can cause natural gas and carbon monoxide to back up into the home.
If there is ice on the meter, or one or more of the following conditions, call 612-321-5200 or 1-800-296-9815. The call, inspection and maintenance are free:
Snow or ice formations are visible above the meter
Meter is located below a downspout
Overhang or eave does not fully extend over the meter
Meter is located below a roof valley without a gutter
Meter is located below an exterior water spout
If you smell, hear or see a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same.
Do not drive into or near a gas leak or vapor cloud.
Do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones), or anything that could cause a spark.
Once safely away from the area, call the CenterPoint Energy emergency gas leak hot line at 1-800-296-9815 and 911 to report the location and description of the leak and CenterPoint Energy will send a trained service technician immediately.
For more natural gas safety tips, visit our website at CenterPointEnergy.com/besafe.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $19 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serving about 800,000 customers in 260 communities. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.