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Virginia Natural Gas Offers Tips for Staying Safe during Winter Storm

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Jan. 5, 2017 – Virginia Natural Gas is prepared to meet the needs of its customers during the forecasted severe winter storm, which could bring snow to parts of the Virginia Natural Gas service area on Friday and into the weekend.

Virginia Natural Gas is ready to respond quickly to any weather-related emergency, and is urging customers to take steps now to ensure their personal safety and the safety of their families before the storm hits.

Below are recommended guidelines associated with natural gas before and after the winter storm:

Before the storm

  • Customers are encouraged to know where their natural gas meter is located.
  • Virginia Natural Gas advises customers to leave their gas meter on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within their homes or businesses and to prevent water from entering the lines should flooding occur. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.
  • Your natural gas service should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm. Only Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel should turn the valve off. 
  • Customers are urged to report a natural gas emergency to the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342. 
During/Immediately after the storm

  • Heavy snow and ice may weigh down power lines and tree limbs, causing them to fall. If a natural gas meter is damaged or underground gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call the 24-hour emergency response line, 1-877-572-3342, from a safe location.
  • To ensure the safe, proper operation of natural gas appliances, such as a furnace and water heater, and to prevent a potentially hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide within your home or business, ensure that outdoor vent openings and air intakes are not obstructed by snow or ice.
  • If you smell the rotten egg odor that is often associated with natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present, immediately leave the affected area and call the 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location. Never try to identify the source of a leak yourself.
  • Following a weather emergency, ensure the gas meter is visible and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.
  • Exercise caution removing snow or ice from your natural gas meter assembly. Use your hands or a broom, not a shovel, to brush away snow or ice from your meter and regulator. Never kick or hit your gas meter or its piping with a hammer or any hard object to break away built-up snow or ice.
  • If flooding occurs at a residence or business and the gas appliances are or have been submerged under water, do not try to operate the appliances until they have been inspected by a qualified plumber or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional.
For additional natural gas safety and weatherization tips, please visit www.virginianaturalgas.com/safety.

About Virginia Natural Gas

Virginia Natural Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides natural gas service to 290,000 customers in southeast Virginia.  Virginia Natural Gas has been recognized as one of the safest, most reliable and customer-focused natural gas service providers, and in 2016 was ranked second in customer satisfaction among mid-size utilities in the South and third nationally by J.D. Power and Associates. Also in 2016, Virginia Natural Gas was recognized as an Environmental Champion by Cogent™ Reports and as the Local Distribution Company of the Year by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association. For more information, visit www.virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/VirginiaNaturalGasCo) and Twitter (Twitter.com/VaNaturalGas).

About Southern Company Gas

Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company.  Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.5 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in seven states and more than 1 million retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate gas pipelines,asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at www.southerncompanygas.com.

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Media Contact: Duane Bourne | o: 757.616.7510 | c: 757.955.0363 | dbourne@southernco.com