SOURCE: San Diego Gas & Electric

December 11, 2007 12:54 ET

SDG&E Offers Tips on Spotting, Responding to Natural Gas Leak

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2007) - With the onset of winter and increased use of home furnaces comes the need for increased awareness of natural gas safety in the home and the community. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) offers tips to help residents recognize a leak and what to do in the event of a leak.

SDG&E officials say natural gas safety is a top priority and the company works to meet or exceed federal and state requirements for safe pipeline operations and maintenance. Though rare, leaks in natural gas pipelines can occur due to natural disasters, damage by third-party contractors, or hidden corrosion. Gas leaks can be detected by smell, sound and sight. SDG&E offers these warning signs and safety tips:

--  Most natural gas pipelines are buried underground. Major pipeline
    routes are marked above ground using high-visibility markers. These markers
    purposely indicate only the general, not exact, location of major
    pipelines. Markers are mostly found where a pipeline intersects a street,
    highway or rail line. However, most lower-pressure lines used to serve
    residential neighborhoods and businesses are not marked. That is why it is
    important to know where they are buried before digging for any reason.
--  To ensure safety and to comply with California state law, call
    Underground Service Alert toll-free at 8-1-1 at least two workdays before
    digging to have utility lines marked at no cost. To find out if there are
    pipelines located in a specific area, visit the National Pipeline Mapping
    System website at http://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/.
--  If there is a leak, one most likely will smell the distinctive odor
    that is added to natural gas so that leaks can be easily detected.
--  There may also be a hissing, whistling or roaring sound near a
    pipeline.
--  And, there may be dead or dying vegetation over or near a pipeline, or
    there could be fire.
    

If a leak is suspected:

--  Stay calm.
--  Don't light a match, candle or cigarette, and don't turn electrical
    devices -- not even a light switch -- on or off.
--  Move away from the area where the leak is suspected and call SDG&E
    immediately at (800) 411-7343 (SDGE) or the local fire department.
    

Additional safety information can be found at SDG&E's Web site at www.sdge.com/safety.

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 830,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles. Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region's quality of life. SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Denise King
    San Diego Gas & Electric
    (877) 866-2066
    www.sdge.com