LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With the winter season here, natural gas usage for heating has increased throughout the region. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) urges customers to be aware of potential natural gas leaks.
Leaks in natural gas pipelines can be caused by third-party contractors, hidden corrosion or natural disasters, and can be flammable.
SoCalGas offers these safety tips:
- If natural gas appliances are used in the home or business, it is an indication that natural gas pipelines exist in the neighborhood.
- 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.
- Pipeline markers also do not indicate the depth or the number of pipelines in the area. Most lower-pressure lines used to serve residential neighborhoods and businesses are not marked, and could be just inches below ground, which is why it is important to know where they are buried before digging for any reason.
- Call Underground Service Alert (USA) at 8-1-1 at least two business days before digging to have utility-owned lines marked. USA will coordinate with SoCalGas and other utilities in the area to mark the locations of buried utility-owned lines. This is a FREE service and it can help prevent injury, costly property damage and loss of utility service. Once lines are marked, use only hand tools within 24 inches of each marked utility line to carefully expose the exact locations of all lines before using any power excavation equipment in the area.
- 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 in an otherwise moist area over or near a pipeline.
- Even though a distinctive odor is added to natural gas to assist in the detection of leaks, do not rely on sense of smell alone to alert you to a gas leak since there may be occasions when you might not be able to smell the odor additive. Visit SoCalGas' website at socalgas.com/safety for more information.
- Immediately report any pipe damage by calling SoCalGas at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish. No damage is too small to report.
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, or use any device or equipment that could cause a spark.
- Immediately evacuate the area where the leak is suspected and from a safe location call SoCalGas at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call 911.
About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) 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 service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).
SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.
For further information: CONTACT: Denise King of Southern California Gas Co., 1-877-643-2331