The arrow in the picture above points to this natural gas meter’s regulator vent, which can be plugged by ice and snow.
Customers are reminded that if they smell natural gas, a bad smell typically described as rotten egg or sulfur-like, in their homes to leave the house immediately and to follow these other important safety precautions:
• Don’t turn lights on or off or use any other electrical switches, including garage door openers, under any circumstances.
• Don’t open any windows or doors other than the ones you pass through on your way out.
• Don’t use a cell phone or any other phone while still in the house; go to a neighbor’s house or other safe place away from your home to call Xcel Energy’s gas emergency number –
1-800-895-2999 – for help, or 911 in an emergency.
• Don’t return to the home until a safety expert such as a utility company employee or firefighter says it’s safe to do so.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A power company wants natural gas customers to help prevent a dangerous situation in their homes.
On Thursday, Xcel Energy reminded customers in a news release to clear their gas meters of snow and ice. The company says when snow and ice accumulates on or around gas meters, natural gas can build up inside the home. Melting snow or ice on a roof or tree can also drip onto the meter, then refreeze. That would make it more likely that the meter would malfunction.
Xcel suggests gently clearing meters of any snow and ice nearby, and up above on the roof line. If there are power lines nearby, keep yourself or any tool you're using at least 10 feet away. It also recommends carefully clearing a path around the meter with a shovel. The company warns against using a sharp tool, shovel, or snow blower on or near the meter and the piping connected to it.