SDG&E offers tips on spotting, responding to natural gas leak

Media Contact:
Denise King

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, Dec. 14, 2006 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) 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.

        SDG&E 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.  SDG&E offers these warning signs and safety tips: 

        • 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 SDG&E immediately at (800) 411-SDGE (7343) or the local fire department.

        Additional safety information can be found at SDG&E’s Web site at

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.