Safety message regarding gas meters and winter weather

Snow and ice buildup on natural gas meters can create a safety hazard and even cut off the flow of natural gas to heating equipment and other appliances. To avoid trouble, one can gently remove snow and ice from on and around the meter with their hands or a broom. Gas meters and regulators are durable and designed with the weather in mind, but a coating of ice or snow could cause a loss of service and become a critical safety issue. If at all possible, remove the snow before it has a chance to freeze.

• Gently clear snow away by hand or with a broom. Do not use a shovel, ice pick or other sharp tools, damage could result and make the situation worse.
• Keep snow blowers and shovels away from gas meters and other above-ground equipment.
• Carefully clear snow away from the outdoor vent on high-efficiency furnaces. The furnace won’t run safely and efficiently if the vent is blocked.
• Safely remove ice buildup from overhead eaves that could fall and damage gas meters below.
• Point out the meter and any other above-ground utility structures to anyone being hired for snow removal.

“It is easy to overlook the gas meter when you are removing snow around your home,” said Ivan Hackman, operations supervisor for Decorah and the surrounding area. “Taking an extra few minutes to check the meter and outdoor vent are well worth your time.”

To help detect a leak, natural gas is injected with an odorant that gives it a distinctive odor. Anyone who suspects a gas leak should follow the protocol listed below:

• Get everyone out and away from the building immediately. Call 911 or Black Hills Energy’s 24-hour emergency number (890-694-8989).
• While exiting, don’t touch any switches or electronics, and leave windows and doors as-is. That will help avoid creating a spark of static electricity capable of igniting any gas in the air.
• Account for everyone, and then don’t under any circumstances go back inside. Emergency responders and Black Hills Energy technicians will let displaced individuals know when it’s safe to return.

Visit for more safety information, energy efficiency tips and billing and service options offered by Black Hills Energy. The company’s non-emergency number is 888-890-5554.

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