LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16, 2009 – With colder weather on the way, natural gas usage for heating will increase throughout the region. Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) urges customers to beware of natural gas leaks.
Though rare, leaks in natural gas pipelines can be caused by third-party contractors, hidden corrosion or natural disasters, and are highly flammable.
The Gas Company offers these safety tips:
• Most natural gas pipelines are buried underground, but only major pipeline routes are marked above ground with high-visibility markers. These markers purposely indicate only the general – not exact – location of major pipelines usually found where a pipeline would intersect a street, highway or rail line. However, most lower-pressure lines used to serve residential neighborhoods and businesses are not marked, which is why it’s important to know where they’re buried before digging for any reason.
• To ensure safety and to comply with California state law, call Underground Service Alert toll-free at 8-1-1 at least two workdays before digging to have utility lines marked at no cost. To find out if there are pipelines located in a specific area, visit the National Pipeline Mapping System Web site at www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov.
• Be aware of all the possible signs of a gas leak, including a distinct unpleasant smell – the odor additive in natural gas to help identify leaks – a hissing, whistling or roaring sound, a ground fire, as well as dead or dying vegetation near a pipeline.
If a leak is suspected:
• Stay calm.
• Don’t light a match, candle or cigarette, and don’t turn any electrical devices on or off, including light switches.
• Leave the area where the leak is suspected and call The Gas Company immediately at (800) 427-2200 or call the local fire department.
Additional safety information is available on The Gas Company’s Web site at www.socalgas.com/safety.
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.5 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. 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.