November 16, 2012 at 15:08 PM EST
SoCalGas Offers Tips On Preventing, Spotting And Responding To Natural Gas Leaks

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the winter weather upon us, people tend to use their natural gas appliances more often. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) urges customers to be safe and know the signs of a natural gas leak and what to do if a leak is suspected.

SoCalGas offers these safety tips to help customers and the general public recognize and respond to natural gas leaks:

  • Use your sense of sight, hearing or smell to alert you to the presence of a gas leak. Signs of a possible leak include:
    • A damaged connection to a gas appliance, dirt or water being blown in the air, dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise moist area) over or near pipeline areas, a fire or explosion near a pipeline or exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster.
    • An unusual sound, such as a hissing, whistling or roaring sound near a gas line or appliance.
    • The distinctive odor of natural gas. Even though an 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 SoCalGas' website at www.socalgas.com/safety for more information.

If a leak is suspected:

  • REMAIN 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 SoCalGas at (800) 427-2200, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call 911.
  • DON'T attempt to control the leak or repair the damaged pipe or meter.

SoCalGas operates more than 100,000 miles of pipeline to safely transport gas to homes and businesses throughout its service area. Although SoCalGas routinely performs pipeline safety tasks, including patrolling, testing, repairing, and replacing pipelines, leaks in natural gas pipelines do occur and can be caused by third-party contractors, hidden corrosion or natural disasters, and can be flammable.

  • Call Underground Service Alert (USA) at 811 at least two business days before digging to have utility-owned lines marked.  This is a free service and it can help prevent injury, costly property damage and loss of utility service.
  • 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.
  • Immediately report any pipe damage by calling SoCalGas at (800) 427-2200. No damage is too small to report.

About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE)

SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

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