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Safety Message From Black Hills Energy Regarding Meters

Posted: 21 December, 2012

LINCOLN - Severe winter weather could land heavily and with little warning now through late spring, and Black Hills Energy has an important safety message about rapidly developing dangers that can occur if snow and ice builds up on natural gas meters. The company urges customers with any gas-related emergency concerns to call the toll-free Black Hills Energy emergency number, answered all day, every day of the year, at 800-694-8989.
Gas meters and regulators are designed with the weather in mind, but a coating of ice or snow could cause a loss of service, an inaccurate bill, or a legitimate safety concern.
“Removing snow gently by hand or with a broom is the only way to do it,” said Jeff Sylvester, VP Nebraska Operations,Black Hills Energy. “You don’t want to create an immediate danger by striking meter parts with a shovel, ice pick or other tool that could damage or break the meter. Natural gas has a consistently commendable safety record, and public and employee safety are always our first concern. Meters are durable, but gas equipment has to be easy to see and get to all year in an emergency, so removing snow is essential.”
Sylvester warns that it’s important to remove snow before it has a chance to freeze. “If you notice ice buildup, please contact us and a Black Hills Energy technician will respond free of charge,” he said. The toll-free, 24/7 Black Hills Energy emergency number is well worth repeating: 800-694-8989.
Natural gas is injected with a rotten egg odor to help detect a leak. If you suspect an indoor gas leak:
·      Get everyone out of the home or business immediately and call 911 or the Black Hills Energy emergency number from a safe distance on a cell phone or from a neighboring location.
·      When leaving, don’t touch any switches or electronics, and leave windows and doors in their current position. Touching or moving any of these can create static electricity capable of causing a fire or explosion.
·      Once everyone is safely outside, don’t under any circumstances go back inside. Emergency response and Black Hills Energy personnel will let you know when it’s safe to return.
Outdoor safety measures include:
·      Keep snow blowers and shovels away from gas meters and other above-ground equipment.
·      Gently clear snow by hand or with a broom.
·      Use your hands or a brush to clear snow away from the outdoor vents serving high-efficiency furnaces. Furnaces will not run safely and efficiently if the vents are blocked.
·      Make snow removal contractors or personnel aware of gas equipment so they don’t accidentally hit a natural gas meter or piping. Hitting the meter or piping with a shovel or other snow removal equipment could damage the meter, creating a highly dangerous situation.
For more safety, energy efficiency and service information go to www.blackhillsenergy.com. Your non-emergency questions are welcome by calling Black Hills Energy customer service at 888-890-5554.

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