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After snow and ice hit, remember your natural gas meter

Snow or ice formations on or near the natural gas meter can cause potentially dangerous conditions.

Accumulation of snow and ice can affect proper operation or ventilation of the regulator, which could cause over-pressurization. Natural gas regulators are designed to maintain a constant pressure, ensure safe delivery of natural gas and vent natural gas safely to the atmosphere.

If blocked, pressure may build up creating a dangerous situation and cause appliances to fail. CenterPoint Energy would like to remind the public of important winter natural gas safety tips:

--Do not use a snow blower or shovel near the meter or attempt to remove ice from the meter yourself. You can use a broom to keep the snow cleared around and on top of the meter and piping.

--Keep the meter area and a path to the meter clear of snow and debris.

--Do not deposit snow piles on or near the meter assembly.

--If there is ice on the meter, or one or more of the following conditions exist, call 612-321-5200 or 1-800-296-9815: Snow or ice formations are visible above the meter; meter is located below a downspout; overhang or eave does not fully extend over the meter; meter is located below a roof valley without a gutter; meter is located below an exterior water spout.

--If you suspect you have a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same.

--Do not drive into or near a gas leak or vapor cloud.

--Do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones), or anything that could cause a spark.

--Once safely away from the area, call the CenterPoint Energy emergency gas

leak hot line at 1-800-296-9815 and 911 to report the location and description of the leak and CenterPoint Energy will send a trained service technician immediately.

For more information about natural gas safety, visit the company's website at