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Virginia Natural Gas Prepares for Winter Storm

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Jan. 3, 2018 – Virginia Natural Gas is prepared to meet the demands of residential and other essential needs customers during the forecasted blizzard, which could bring snow and ice to parts of the service area as early as this evening and into tomorrow. Virginia Natural Gas crews are prepared to respond to any weather-related emergency and emphasize the importance of having a plan and making the necessary preparations for severe weather.

With the safety of the public, its employees and its pipelines top of mind, Virginia Natural Gas is providing the following guidelines associated with natural gas meter and appliance venting safety:

Appliance Safety

  • Customers should never use natural gas appliances, such as ovens or the burners on a stove, to heat their homes or businesses.
  • Customers should make sure their heating system, water heater and any other natural gas appliances are serviced and inspected annually by a qualified licensed professional.
  • Virginia Natural Gas customers are advised not to use any defective natural gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by a qualified plumber or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • To ensure the safe, proper operation of natural gas appliances, such as a furnace and water heater, and to prevent the 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 customers smell natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present in their home or business, they should immediately leave the area and call 9-1-1 or 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location.
  • Residents are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately if anyone in their home or business experiences possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Meter Safety

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

Detecting Gas Leaks

  • If customers smell the rotten egg odor that is often associated with natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present, they should immediately leave the affected area and call 9-1-1 or 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 natural 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

  • 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 9-1-1 or the 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location.

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 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:
Mekka Parish 
 o: 404.584.4165 | c: 404.387.8067 | msparish@southernco.com