The Gas Company offers tips on spotting, responding to natural gas leak

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


        LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14, 2006 – Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is launching a multi-year education campaign to increase awareness of the location of natural gas pipelines, and to help residents recognize a leak and what to do in the event of a leak.

        Gas Company officials say pipeline safety is a top priority and the company works to meet or exceed federal and state requirements for safe pipeline operations and maintenance.  Federal law requires all natural gas utilities to communicate with their customers about pipeline safety. 
        Though rare, leaks in natural gas pipelines can occur due to natural disasters, damage by third-party contractors, or hidden corrosion.  Gas leaks can be detected by smell, sound and sight.  The Gas Company offers these warning signs and safety tips: 

        • Most natural gas pipelines are buried underground.  Major pipeline routes are marked above ground using high-visibility markers.  Markers are mostly found where a pipeline intersects a street, highway or rail line.  However, most lower-pressure lines used to serve residential neighborhoods and businesses are not marked.  That is why it is important to know where they are buried before digging for any reason. 
        • To ensure your safety and to comply with California state law, call Underground Service Alert toll-free at (800) 227-2600 at least two workdays before you plan to dig to have utility lines marked at no cost.
        • If there is a leak, one most likely will smell the distinctive odor that is added to natural gas so that leaks can be easily detected.
        • There may also be a hissing, whistling or roaring sound near a pipeline.
        • And, there may be dead or dying vegetation over or near a pipeline, or there could be fire.

        If a leak is suspected:

        • Stay calm.
        • Don’t light a match, candle or cigarette, and don’t turn electrical devices -- not even a light switch -- on or off.
        • Move away from the area where the leak is suspected and call The Gas Company immediately at (800) 427-2200 or the local fire department.

        Additional safety information can be found at The Gas Company’s Web site at

        The Gas Company is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 19.8 million consumers through 5.6 million meters.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California.  The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.