VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – May 31, 2018 – Forecasts call for the 2018 hurricane season to be slightly above average. Therefore, 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 begins June 1 and 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 other 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 distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas, they should leave the area immediately and move a safe distance away from the potential leak, while avoiding any action that may cause sparks.
- They should never try to identify the source of a leak or stop the leak themselves.
- They should avoid using any sources of ignition, such as cell phones, cigarettes, matches, flashlights, electronic devices, motorized vehicles, light switches or landlines, as natural gas can ignite from a spark, possibly causing a fire or explosion.
- They should call the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 or 911 once they are out of the area of the suspected leak and in a safe place. They should also stay away until Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel indicates it is safe to return.
- Strong winds and saturated grounds could cause trees to become uprooted. Before removing downed trees, customers should contact VA811 by calling 811 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 natural gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area and call the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 or 911 from a safe location.
- Customers are encouraged to know where to locate their natural gas meter.
- Following a weather emergency, they should ensure the natural 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 an underground gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area and call the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response number at 1-877-572-3342 or 911 from a safe location.
- Customers are advised to leave their natural gas service on during a hurricane or severe storm. Most natural 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 purchase and installation to determine whether their service line and meter meets load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.
For more information about natural gas safety, visit 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 nearly 300,000 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 is consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates. In 2017, Virginia Natural Gas earned the Most Trusted Brand recognition from Market Strategies International’s Cogent Report™ study, and for the second consecutive year was named 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 virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
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 non-utility 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 www.southerncompanygas.com.
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