PUC Offers Natural Gas Safety Tips Related to Heavy Snow
Published on 1/22/2016
Filed under: Gas
HARRISBURG – As residents across much of Pennsylvania brace for significant snowfall this weekend, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) offered some safety tips for those using natural gas appliances:
- Keep outside vents for your natural gas furnace or other gas appliances clear any accumulation of snow or ice. The vents provide air flow necessary for safe operation and blocked vents can lead to a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide.
- Carefully clear deep snow away from the area around your gas meter to allow utility access and to prevent potential disruptions of service, but keep snow blowers and plows away from the gas meter.
- Electric power outages can affect gas furnaces and other appliances. If they do not function properly when power is restored call a professional for service.
- If you smell natural gas, get everyone out of the building immediately. Leave the door open and do NOT use phones, switch lights or appliances on or off, or take any other action while inside the building. After you are outside, call 9-1-1 from your cell phone or neighbor’s home.
PUC tips related to electric service outages are available on the PUC website. Additionally, residents are encouraged to take some general steps before the storm to prepare for potential problems, including:
- Write down, print or save toll-free “outage reporting hotlines” to your cell phone. Those are the numbers you should call in the event of an outage. Natural gas utility contact information and electric utility hotlines are compiled on the PUC website.
- Save the Internet address for your utility’s outage reporting system, which can provide updates on repair and restoration efforts. Those natural gas company websites and electric utility outage sites are listed on the PUC website.
- Check social media, like Facebook and Twitter, for utility updates and important storm-related information. Note: While many utilities use social media to highlight important information, consumers should not use social media to report outages or share account information, addresses or other personal information. Instead, always call the official utility outage hotline.
The PUC is in close communication with utilities across the state and based on those reports, utilities are putting their storm response plans into motion; crews and equipment are being positioned for quick response to outages; and utilities are enhancing their communication with emergency management coordinators across the state. The PUC will continue to monitor the situation and will stay in close contact with the Governor’s Office and the other state agencies involved in Pennsylvania’s coordinated storm response.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.
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