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CenterPoint Energy provides important flood safety tips
Home Service PlusĀ® is available to assist customers recovering from flood damage

MINNEAPOLIS - September 24, 2010 - As flooding continues in Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is reminding residents to be safe when dealing with their natural gas appliances. CenterPoint Energy offers the following tips to homeowners to help ensure their natural gas appliances are functional after floodwaters recede.

During a flood:

  • Do not turn off your natural gas at the meter. You should leave the gas meter on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within the house to prevent water from entering the lines.
  • Call the gas company if flooding is threatening the entire residence.
  • Safety systems within appliances should shut off the gas and electricity to the appliance if you did not shut it off before the flooding. Therefore, do not enter a flooded area to shut off the gas or electricity to your appliances. High voltage electricity may be present and can pose a serious danger.

After a flood:

  • Have the water professionally removed from the area.
  • If the gas meter was under water, call the gas company to schedule an inspection because the meter may need to be replaced.
  • Have appliances impacted by floodwater inspected by a qualified technician, like one from Home Service Plus (HSP). Home Service Plus reminds customers that this should be done before operating the equipment again since safety controls were likely damaged. The qualified technicians will determine if the appliance needs repairs or replacement. This includes outdoor gas appliances also, such as pool heaters, gas grills and gaslights.
  • If you have not had flooding in your home and your natural gas is turned off at the meter, call your gas provider to reconnect service.
  • Be alert for leaking gas as you return to your home or business to assess damage. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same.
    • Do not turn the lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that may cause a spark, including a flashlight or driving your car.
    • Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.
  • Once safely away from the area, call the emergency gas leak hot line number on your bill and 911 to report the location and description of the leak. If the pipeline operator is not known, call 911.
  • Call 811 before digging on the property or conducting debris clean up so they can locate underground natural gas lines.

Home Service Plus is available to assist in repairing natural gas appliances that floodwater has damaged; however, flood damage is not repairable under your Repair Plan. Home Service Plus will provide priority scheduling if you need a diagnostic service call to determine if your covered appliances need to be replaced or fixed. They will also provide an estimate for the repair. The diagnostic service call can help homeowners expedite any insurance claims and provides a written diagnosis explaining the damages and estimated cost. Contact HSP at 1-877-HSP-1664 to schedule an inspection.

About Home Service Plus® and CenterPoint Energy

Home Service Plus® is CenterPoint Energy’s non-regulated business providing repair plans, repair and maintenance services and new product sales and installation in the categories of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and home appliances. HSP serves the Minneapolis / St. Paul Twin Cities metro area and Greater Minnesota.

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.