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CenterPoint Energy Issues Natural Gas Safety Tips for Severe Weather
Prepare your family for when severe weather strikes

MINNEAPOLIS – August 21, 2009 – CenterPoint Energy would like to remind the public of important natural gas safety tips when there is severe weather. 

“When severe weather strikes, you often have only a few minutes to take action,” said Dean Headlee, pipeline safety and compliance manager for CenterPoint Energy.  “Knowing how to respond to an emergency and being prepared ahead of severe weather is essential.”

  • If you smell, hear or see a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately and tell others to do the same.  Do not drive into or near a gas leak or vapor cloud.
  • Once safely away from the area, call the CenterPoint Energy emergency gas leak hot line at 1-800-722-9326 and 911 to report the location and description of the leak and CenterPoint Energy will send a trained service technician immediately.  If the pipeline operator is not known, call your local emergency officials.
  • Since pipelines are normally buried underground, line markers are used to indicate approximate location and display the name of the pipeline operator, material transported in the line and the emergency telephone number.
  • Do not turn on or off the lights, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark including a flashlight or generator. 
  • Do not attempt to operate or turn any gas valves.  Improper operation of gas valves could make the situation worse.
  • As you are putting out debris for heavy trash pickup, please make sure it is placed away from the meter which may be located near the curb.  Trash collectors are using mechanized equipment to pick up heavy debris, and if the debris is near a gas meter, the equipment could pull up the meter damaging it and causing a potentially hazardous situation.  If this does happen, please leave the area immediately and call CenterPoint Energy.
  • For more information about natural gas safety, visit the company’s Web-site at www.CenterPointEnergy.com/safety.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & 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 over $19 billion.  With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 130 years.  In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serving nearly 790,000 customers in 260 communities. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit the Web site at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.

For more information contact
Becca Virden
Phone 612.321.4879
Pager 612.531.1234