LINCOLN, Neb., – Jan. 22, 2018 – With winter weather conditions across Nebraska today, Black Hills Energy has prepared for winter and is providing an important safety message to make sure its natural gas customers are prepared as well.
Snow and ice buildup on your natural gas meter can create a safety hazard and effect the flow of natural gas to your heating and appliances. To avoid trouble, gently remove snow and ice from on and around the meter with your hands or a broom. Gas meters and regulators are durable and designed with the weather in mind, but a coating of ice or snow could cause a loss of service and become a safety issue.
“If you aren’t comfortable removing ice buildup yourself, please call us and we’ll be happy to come out and do it for you at no charge,” said Jeff Sylvester, vice president for Black Hills Energy’s Nebraska gas operations. “We offer home safety tips and suggestions at www.blackhillsenergy.com to help our customers prepare as well.”
Important Winter Safety Tips
- Gently clear snow away by hand or with a broom. You’ll put yourself and everyone nearby at serious risk if you strike and damage any part of the meter with a shovel, ice pick or other tool. And you could be liable for expensive damage.
- Keep snow blowers and shovels away from gas meters and other above ground equipment.
- Safely remove icicles hanging from overhead eaves that could fall and damage gas meters below.
- Point out the meter and any other above-ground utility structures to anyone you hire for snow removal.
- Know the signs of a potential carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels including wood, gasoline, charcoal and natural gas. Signs of a potential carbon monoxide leak can include, but are not limited to, flu-like symptoms – a scratchy throat, runny nose, headache, drowsiness or nausea. Other indicators could include frosted windows due to excessive humidity, or a draft from the front of the furnace when it is not turned on.
If you think you smell gas
To help you detect a leak, natural gas is injected with an odorant that many compare to the stench of rotten eggs. If you suspect an indoor gas leak:
- Get everyone out and away from the building immediately and then 911 or Black Hills Energy’s 24-hour emergency number (800-694-8989).
- As you exit, don’t touch any switches or electronics, and leave windows and doors as-is. That will help avoid creating a spark of static electricity capable of igniting any gas in the air.
- Account for everyone, and then don’t under any circumstances go back inside. Emergency responders and Black Hills Energy technicians will let you know when it’s safe to return.
Visit www.blackhillsenergy.com for more safety information, energy efficiency tips and billing and service options. The company’s non-emergency number for questions about your bill and other services is 888-890-5554.