It's snow and ice season.  It's also time for the annual reminder about keeping the natural gas service meters on your home clear of those elements.

Superior Water Light and Power recently took a multi-level approach at serving those reminders to its customers.  A flyer was included in the most-recent monthly statement that went out and their social media sites have also included the timely messages about keeping them clear.

In general, the concern is the way that snow and ice buildup can damage meters, pipes, and service ports - making them difficult to access in an emergency situation.  Additionally, the blocked vents that are located on the meters can lead to disruptions of service or carbon monoxide problems.

That's why this time of year, the directive from utility companies like SWLP is this:

"Heavy snow, fluctuating temperatures, and ice accumulation can create potentially dangerous conditions for natural gas meters.  To protect you and your family and to prevent service interruptions, we urge all customers to check their gas meter and clear it of any snow and ice."

As far as venting goes, a clear meter makes for consistent and reliable gas service.  The meter's regulator maintains a constant pressure and ensures the safe delivery of natural gas.  It also helps to vent natural gas and it's by-products safely  to the atmosphere.  When those vents get blocked with snow and ice, the regulator won't operate properly.  That can lead to dangerous conditions like natural gas buildups.

Here are some steps you should take every time it snows in relation to your gas service meter:

  • Maintain a clear path to your meter.  Snow removal and clear pathways are the responsibility of property owners.
  • Be careful when shoveling near meters.  While you want to remove the snow and ice buildup, improper shoveling techniques can also lead to damage and safety concerns if the equipment becomes damaged.
  • Clear snow and ice with a broom or by hand around the piping and on top of the meter assembly.
  • Check your meter regularly.
  • Contact your utility company if you are concerned your natural gas meters regulator may be blocked.

It's always worth noting at the same time that if you smell, hear, or see a natural gas leak - you should do the following:

  • Leave your residence or the area immediately
  • Report the problem to your local utility company.  You can also dial 911
  • Don't use anything that could cause a spark.  Avoid using electrical switches, landline telephones, or cellphones near a potential gas leak.

Additional information is available on the Superior Water Light and Power website.

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