MINNEAPOLIS - Dec. 17, 2009 - CenterPoint Energy would like to remind the public of important winter natural gas safety tips. Snow or ice formations on or near the natural gas meter set can cause potentially dangerous conditions. Accumulations of snow and ice can affect proper operation or ventilation of the regulator, which could cause over-pressurization. Regulators are designed to maintain a constant pressure, ensure safe delivery of natural gas and vent natural gas safely to the atmosphere. Alternately, if blocked, pressure will build up in the system causing a dangerous situation and problems for appliances if the pilot lights go out. To help ensure safe operation,
- Keep the meter area and a path to the meter clear of snow and debris.
- 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 to keep the snow cleared around and on top of the meter assembly.
- If there is ice on the meter, or one or more of the following conditions, call 612-321-5200 or 1-800-722-9326:
- 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 1-800-722-9326 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 on the Web at www.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 nearly $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 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.