SDG&E offers safety tips to customers returning home after firestorm evacuations

Media Contact:
Denise King

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


         SAN DIEGO, Oct. 26, 2007 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is offering electric and natural gas safety tips to customers returning home after having been evacuated by the wildfires.

       “The safety of our customers, employees and the community is of highest priority,” said Michelle Mueller, vice president of customer service for SDG&E.   “If you are able to return to your home, and you find your electricity or natural gas service is off, call SDG&E.”

        SDG&E crews are entering fire-damaged areas, where allowed by fire officials, to assess damage, repair electric lines and natural gas pipelines and meters, and restore service.  SDG&E is requesting patience by customers in areas impacted by the fires as the utility begins the service-restoration process.

        SDG&E officials stress the following electric and natural gas safety tips:

        • Do not touch downed electrical lines.   The lines may still be energized and dangerous.  Call 911 and ask for the police department, fire department rescue service or SDG&E.

        • If running an emergency electric generator during an outage, do not connect it to the   home’s electrical system.  Doing so could result in death or serious injury and also threaten any SDG&E employees on nearby power lines.  Plugging the generator back into the electric system also can damage appliances.

        • Do not shut off the natural gas meter unless there is the smell or sound of natural gas leaking.  In the event of a leak, the natural gas should be manually turned off at the meter.  Using an adjustable wrench, make a quarter-turn of the valve, moving it from a vertical position to a horizontal position.

        • If the odor is strong, leave the building.  Don’t flip a light switch when the smell of natural gas is strong.

        •  If the natural gas meter is shut off, call SDG&E to turn it back on.  Interior natural gas piping and appliances must be inspected for possible damage before service can be safely restored.
If customers have any questions about the safety of their electric or natural gas service, they should call SDG&E at (800) 411-7343.

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 800,000 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.