CenterPoint Energy is reminding its residential and business customers to keep their outdoor natural gas meters clear of snow and ice in order to prevent a leak or service interruption.
Outdoor meters have a vent that regulates gas pressure and it must not be blocked by snow or ice to work properly.
When clearing snow away, it is also important to protect your meter from being damaged. CenterPoint reports an increasing number of incidents with snowplows and snowblowers hitting meters and causing gas leaks, and offers these tips:
Don’t pile snow on or near your natural gas meter. Maintain a clear path to your meter to allow access in an emergency.
Don’t use a snowplow or snowblower near the meter. Instead, carefully shovel around the meter and move snow away from it. Use a broom or brush to gently clear snow or ice from the top of the meter and piping.
Mark your meters. Especially for business properties and parking lots, place high-visibility safety flags by natural gas meters and regulators to mark their location and prevent snowplows from hitting them. If your meter is located where it is at risk of being hit by a vehicle, a bollard may be needed for protection. Contact CenterPoint Energy for assistance.
Never kick or hit your gas meter or its piping with a shovel, hammer or any hard object to break away built-up snow or ice.
Call CenterPoint Energy at 800-296-9815 for assistance if your meter is coated with ice or it is directly below a downspout or a roof valley with a gutter, or the overhang or eaves do not fully extend over the meter. These conditions put the meter at risk of ice build-up.
If you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same. When safely away, report the leak by calling 911 and the CenterPoint Energy emergency hotline at 800-296-9815.