Pea Ridge service disruption customer FAQs
Updated as of February 16, 2021
What caused this outage?
On Feb. 16, Black Hills Energy was notified of a loss of pressure to the natural gas system in Pea Ridge. To safely restore service, our technicians needed to shut off approximately 2,300 gas meters and test the system.
How many customers are impacted in the Pea Ridge area?
Approximately 2,300 residential and commercial customers are impacted in the Pea Ridge area.
How will Black Hills Energy restore gas service?
The process of bringing customers back on to the system requires several steps. We must first make sure all gas meters are off, then purge the system so it’s ready for the reintroduction of the natural gas supply. Technicians are working to complete these steps on Tuesday, Feb. 16 working as late as safely possible into the evening. Next, our technicians will go door-to-door to turn on meters, do a safety check and relight each customer’s gas appliances.
If your appliance is unsafe to relight, our technicians will have to red tag it until it can be repaired. The relight teams will not be able to repair appliances during today’s relighting effort but will schedule a repair team to return later after most of the community is back online.
When will gas service be restored to all customers in the Pea Ridge area?
Crews will begin working to relight customers as soon as they are safely able to do so, after the purging is complete and the system is re-pressurized. Our technicians will continue going door-to-door to restore service to all customers, but someone over 18 years of age must be home to allow our technicians inside.
If technicians are not able to connect with a customer to relight their appliances, a door tag will be left with instructions to call us at 888-890-5554 to set up a time for service to be restored.
It will take time to restore the customers we are not able to connect with on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and may take several days before all houses, including those that are currently unoccupied, are restored.
A warming station for residents is open at 1391 Weston Street. The temporary station that was located at 781 W Pickens Road is no longer in service.
What should impacted customers who live outside of Pea Ridge do to have their service restored?
Please contact us at 888-890-5554 to set up a time for a technician to visit your home and coordinate with someone locally to with the ability and authority to allow our technicians to enter the premises and relight appliances. We are advising property owners and managers of unoccupied residences and commercial properties to take immediate action to guard against frozen pipes by doing some or all of the following:
- Ask a neighbor or friend to access the home and turn on cold water faucets to drip and keep pipes from freezing.
- Consider turning water off to the residence and flush all pipes to prevent freezing until the owner returns.
- If an absentee property owner does not have anyone to turn off water they can contact a local professional plumber to assist with proper winterization.
For unoccupied properties, Black Hills Energy will schedule appointments to turn gas service back on and relight appliances after service has been restored to occupied residences and businesses.
Was it expected to smell gas during the purging process?
Yes. During the purging of the system, customers may have smelled a faint odor of gas. This is normal and expected, and the gas will safely dissipate into the air. The smell is like that of a rotten egg. If you smell the odor of natural gas and it does not quickly dissipate, exit the building you are in and quickly and call 911 from a safe distance.
When was the initial purging of the system completed?
The first steps of the restoration process, including the shutting off of all gas meters and the purging of the system, was successfully and safely completed in the evening hours of Tuesday, February 16.
How can customers help make the process easier for Black Hills Energy?
Black Hills Energy customers can assist in expediting the relighting efforts by clearing snow from and providing access to gas meters and restraining pets who may be on the premises. Additionally, it’s required that someone over 18 years of age be present during the relighting process.
Will customers be notified when Black Hills Energy techs are in their neighborhood?
In order to restore service to our customers as quickly and safely as possible, our technicians will go door-to-door to all customer premises to restore service. If they do not connect with the customer, they will leave a door tag with information for customers to call us at 888-890-5554 to set up a time for restoration. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide a timeframe for when technicians will be in a certain area. We have over 80 technicians out in the field going through the affected area, street by street, and are not able to predict when a particular area will be addressed.
What will technicians do during the relight process?
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. If an appliance is emitting carbon monoxide and poses a safety hazard, the technician is required to red-tag the appliance, taking it out of commission until it can be repaired or replaced.
The relight teams will not be able to repair appliance during today’s relighting effort, but will schedule a repair team to return later after most of the community is back online, to evaluate and work with homeowners to get appliances repaired or replaced as soon as possible, and then relight and restore service.
Why shouldn’t a customer attempt to relight their own appliances?
Our technicians have specialized equipment that can detect gas and identify safety concerns within the infrastructure and appliances, which is important to the overall safety of our customers and our system. These safety checks are important steps to safely restore natural gas service.
If we have electric ignition, is it necessary for Black Hills Energy technicians to manually relight the pilot?
No, however, we will still need to perform a safety check of the appliances.
Will Black Hills Energy technicians be relighting boilers as well as appliances?
Yes, our technicians will be relighting all gas pilot lights.
What should customers do if they are not home for the relight process?
If a customer is not home when the Black Hills Energy technicians arrive to relight their service, a door tag will be left with instructions to call us at 888-890-5554 to schedule a relight. Customers should not attempt to relight their appliances on their own.
For customers who may be out of the area and whose homes or commercial buildings are not open at this time, please call us to schedule a date and time to restore service.
Is COVID-19 a concern during the restoration process?
We have safety protocols in place to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. Our technicians will be prepared to safely restore service by wearing appropriate PPE and asking COVID-19 screening questions before entering homes and businesses. We also ask that customers practice social distancing and wear masks for the safety of all.
Will Black Hills Energy repair any appliances?
Depending on the specific situation with the appliance, our technicians will discuss the options and next steps directly with the customer.
Who should customers contact if there are other issues?
Customers can call us at 888-890-5554 if they experience any natural gas service issues or for any non-emergency questions. Customers are asked not to call 911 for non-emergency questions regarding when service will be restored.
Where can additional information and regular updates be found?
For the most current information, please refer to the Black Hills Energy social media pages and the website at www.blackhillsenergy.com/pea-ridge-ar
Does Black Hills Energy have additional resources to help restore service?
We’re very thankful to team members in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska for stepping in to assist in the restoration efforts surrounding this incident. Currently there are more than 80 technicians from Black Hills Energy who are working diligently in Pea Ridge and throughout the surrounding area to restore service to all customers as quickly and safely as possible. Your patience is appreciated as the crews visit each individual residence and business.