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Safety First: Natural Gas Guidelines You Should Know Before, During and After Severe Weather

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – May 31, 2017 – Despite the forecasts that call for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season to be less active than a year ago, Virginia Natural Gas customers should prepare now to keep themselves and their families safe before any naturally-occurring weather event.

Hurricane season, a six-month period that lasts through November, is typically the time of year when the potential for tropical depressions, tropical storms or hurricanes peaks. This period also can lead to tornados and related weather emergencies, such as flooding. 

Virginia Natural Gas is providing the following recommended guidelines associated with natural gas safety during a weather emergency:

Detecting Gas Leaks

  • If customers smell the rotten egg odor that is often associated with natural gas, they should immediately leave the affected area; call 9-1-1 then the 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 lighting a match.

Damage Prevention

  • Strong winds and saturated grounds could cause trees to become uprooted. Before removing downed trees, customers should dial the Virginia Utility Protection Service by calling 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 lines.
  • If a natural gas meter is damaged or gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area; call 9-1-1 or the 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location.

Meter Safety

  • Customers are encouraged to know where to locate their natural gas meter.
  • 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.
  • If a natural gas meter is damaged or gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area; call 9-1-1 or the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response number at 1-877-572-3342.

Appliance Safety

  • 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 safety inspection is conducted.

Natural Gas Generators

  • During a power outage, natural gas generators provide continuous fuel supply from an existing natural gas line. While these units are available in a range of sizes to meet various energy needs, customers are encouraged to contact Virginia Natural Gas prior to installation to determine whether their service line and meter meets load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.

For information about natural gas safety, visit www.virginianaturalgas.com/safety.

 

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 293,000 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/VaNaturalGasCo) 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 4.6 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 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