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Working to restore natural gas service to Decatur, Arkansas

🔺 Sept. 18 2:00 p.m. CST - Black Hills Energy technicians worked efficiently over the past number days and have accomplished a nearly full restoration of natural gas service to customers in the City of Decatur.

As of 2:00 p.m. CST, nearly all of the approximately 500 homes and businesses that lost service due to a loss of pressure on the Black Hills Energy system on Friday have been restored, with less than 35 customers remaining.

All affected customers have been contacted. Any customer who has not had gas restored should call Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554 to schedule service to be restored. It is extremely important that customers do not attempt this themselves.

“At the start of the restoration process, we were hopeful we could make swift progress, and with the help of our team from across the state were able to execute on that,” said Chad Kinsley, vice president of gas operations. “Our customers are extremely important to us. All of our crews were unified in wanting to restore service as safely and quickly as possible.”

 “We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who assisted us in this effort,” Kinsley continued. “We appreciate and thank the City of Decatur, the technicians who traveled to lend a hand, our customers and the community who extended us their patience and support through this process.”

Local Black Hills Energy employees were joined by others from across Arkansas. More than 40 technicians responded to the City of Decatur to help restore natural gas to every impacted customer after service was disrupted on Friday.


🔺Sept. 18 9:00 a.m. CST - Immediately following restoration of system pressure yesterday afternoon, technicians began relighting residential customers, and today technicians are spread across the city continuing service restoration efforts. Additional Black Hills Energy employees from across Arkansas have joined the effort to expedite restoration of service to Decatur customers. Approximately 20 technicians are working diligently to complete the restoration process.

As of this morning, service has been restored to approximately 243 customers. Most customers should have service restored by late afternoon, but it will take time to restore the customers we are not able to connect with today. Customers should not attempt to relight their appliances on their own.

At locations where no one is home or the business is closed, a tag will be left on the door notifying the customer that the natural gas has been shut off and to call the company for it to be turned back on. Additionally, someone over 18 years of age is required to be present during the relighting process, so customers can also help by being in the residence today if possible.

When a technician arrives to restore service, they will turn on the meter and then perform a variety of safety checks on gas appliances indoors, measuring for gas and carbon monoxide to identify any safety issues.


🔺 Sept. 17 8:49 p.m. CST - Our crews have begun relighting pilot lights. It is extremely important that customers do not attempt to relight their own pilot lights on their water heaters, furnaces or other gas appliances.

Thank you for your ongoing patience. We'll continue to provide updates as available.


🔺 Sept. 17 6:36 p.m. CST - This afternoon Black Hills Energy lost natural gas pressure at the Decatur town border station, causing an outage to approximately 500 customers in that area.  In order to prepare the system for restoration, the company will be clearing the existing system at 11 different locations along the system.  During the completion of that process, customers in the area may hear a loud noise caused by the pressure of the release as well as detect the odor of natural gas in the atmosphere.

Black Hills Energy reminds customers, if you suspect a gas leak:

  • Leave the building or area immediately and tell others to leave too. Alert your neighbors.
  • From a safe distance, call 911 and Black Hills Energy’s emergency number: 888-890-5554. Never assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak.
  • On the way out, do not flip light switches, open windows, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or other electronics that could cause a spark of static electricity
  • Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.
  • Wait for Black Hills Energy and other emergency responders to give the all-clear before acting further.

🔺 Sept. 17 2:01 p.m. CST - Decatur, Arkansas.- During a routine upgrade to the town border station in Decatur, gas pressure was inadvertently lost, causing the loss of gas service to approximately 500 customers in the area. Black Hills Energy technicians are working non-stop to complete a multi-step process to purge and repressurize the gas system, readying teams to begin restoring gas service to Decatur customers. Immediately following restoration of system pressure, technicians will begin relighting residential customers.

When a technician arrives to restore service, they will turn on the meter and then perform a variety of safety checks on gas appliances indoors, measuring for gas and carbon monoxide to identify any safety issues. Customers should not attempt to relight their appliances on their own. At locations where no one is home or the business is closed, a tag will be left on the door notifying the customer that the natural gas has been shut off and to call the company for it to be turned back on. Additionally, someone over 18 years of age is required to be present during the relighting process, so customers can also help by being in the residence today if possible.

Additional Black Hills Energy employees from across Arkansas are joining the effort to expedite restoration of service to Decatur customers. Those technicians are working diligently to complete the restoration process, it will take time to restore the customers we are not able to connect with today.

For updates on service restoration efforts, customers can also follow our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Our technicians will be prepared to safely restore service by wearing appropriate PPE and asking COVID-19 screening questions before entering homes and businesses. Our technicians practice social distancing and closely follow all national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding COVID-19, including wearing masks. Additionally, we ask that our customers also wear a mask while our technicians are in your home. Learn more about our COVID-19 precautions at blackhillsenergy.com/covid-19.

Please remember the following safety tips:

 

  • Be alert for leaking natural gas. If you smell natural gas, leave the building or area immediately and tell others to leave too.
  • After you’re safely away from the area, call 911 and our emergency number at 888-890-5554. Never assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak. Alert your neighbors.
  • Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak, and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.