SAN DIEGO, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the winter season here, natural gas for heating has increased throughout the region. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) urges customers to be aware of potential natural gas leaks.
Leaks in natural gas pipelines can be caused by third-party contractors, hidden corrosion or natural disasters, and can be flammable.
SDG&E offers these safety tips:
- If natural gas appliances are used in the home or business, it is an indication that natural gas pipelines exist in the neighborhood.
- Most natural gas pipelines are buried underground, but only major pipeline routes are marked above ground with high visibility markers. These markers purposely indicate only the general – not exact – location of major pipelines usually found where a pipeline would intersect a street, highway or rail line.
- Pipeline markers also do not indicate the depth or the number of pipelines in the area. Most lower-pressure lines used to serve residential neighborhoods and businesses are not marked, and could be just inches below ground, which is why it is important to know where they are buried before digging for any reason.
- Call Underground Service Alert (USA) at 8-1-1 at least two business days before digging to have utility-owned lines marked. USA will coordinate with SDG&E and other utilities in the area to mark the locations of buried utility-owned lines. This is a FREE service and it can help prevent injury, costly property damage and loss of utility service. Once lines are marked, use only hand tools within 24 inches of each marked utility line to carefully expose the exact locations of all lines before using any power excavation equipment in the area.
- Be aware of all the possible signs of a gas leak, including a distinct unpleasant smell – the odor additive in natural gas to help identify leaks – a hissing, whistling or roaring sound, a ground fire, as well as dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area over or near a pipeline.
- Even though a distinctive odor is added to natural gas to assist in the detection of leaks, do not rely on sense of smell alone to alert you to a gas leak since there may be occasions when you might not be able to smell the odor additive. Visit SDG&E's website at www.sdge.com/gassafety for more information.
- Immediately report any pipe damage by calling SDG&E at (800) 411-7343. No damage is too small to report.
If a leak is suspected:
- Stay calm.
- Don't light a match, candle or cigarette, and don't turn any electrical devices on or off, including light switches, or use any device or equipment that could cause a spark.
- Immediately evacuate the area where the leak is suspected and from a safe location call SDG&E at (800) 411-7343 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call 911.
For more safety information, visit www.sdge.com/gassafety. To find out the approximate location of major transmission gas and liquid pipelines, visit the National Pipeline Mapping System website at www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
SOURCE San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)