Virginia Natural Gas Prepares for 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Tips encourage customers to take deliberate steps to keep themselves and their families safe.
May 29, 2014
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – May 29, 2014 – Although forecasters are predicting a below-average 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, Virginia Natural Gas is encouraging customers to take the necessary preparations now to protect themselves and their families before severe weather strikes.
Virginia Natural Gas is prepared to respond to severe weather-related emergencies during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. The company focuses its emergency disaster plan on system integrity and reliability to maintain safe and reliable natural gas service to its customers and to ensure employee safety and customer responsiveness. The emergency plan also includes contingency plans to supplement local resources, if necessary.
One key component of this year’s emergency plan is the company’s ability to keep customers informed during severe weather. Customers are encouraged to follow Virginia Natural Gas on Twitter @VaNaturalGas and and visit the company’s website for outage information and updates posted in real time.
As a reminder, Virginia Natural Gas suggests that customers should be aware of the following important guidelines associated with natural gas safety before, during and immediately following a severe weather emergency:
Detecting Natural Gas Leaks
- If customers smell the rotten egg odor that is often associated with natural gas, they should immediately leave the affected area and call Virginia Natural Gas’ 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location.
- Residents should never try to identify the source of a leak themselves.
- If the odor of gas is present, do not use a telephone or cellular phone, turn light switches on or off, operate any appliance or do anything that might cause a spark, such as a lighting a match.
- Strong winds and saturated ground could cause trees to uproot. Before removing downed trees, customers should dial 8-1-1 or 1-800-552-7001 to have the location of underground utility lines marked, because downed trees could become tangled with the natural gas and other utility lines.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or natural gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call the 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location.
- Customers are encouraged to know how to locate their natural gas meter.
- Following a weather emergency, ensure the natural gas meter is visible and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. If the meter is hidden, it may be damaged by mechanical equipment used to clean up areas after a storm.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or natural gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response number at 1-877-572-3342.
- Customers are advised to leave their natural gas service on during a hurricane or severe storm. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.
- If flooding occurs at a residence or business and the gas appliances are under water, customers are advised not to operate their appliances until a qualified plumber or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional can conduct a safety inspection.
Natural Gas Generators
- During a power outage, natural gas generators provide continuous fuel supply from an existing natural gas line. Because natural gas generator units are available in a range of sizes to meet various energy needs, customers are encouraged to check with a service representative at Virginia Natural Gas to determine whether their service line meets load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.
About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), provides retail natural gas sales and distribution services to 275,000 customers in southeast Virginia. For more information, visit www.virginianaturalgas.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services, midstream operations and cargo shipping. AGL Resources serves approximately 4.5 million utility customers through its regulated distribution subsidiaries in seven states. The company also serves approximately 630,000 retail energy customers and approximately 1.2 million customer service contracts through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management, ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities, and ownership of Tropical Shipping, one of the largest containerized cargo carriers serving the Bahamas and Caribbean region. AGL Resources is a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.