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Keep meters clear of snow and ice

CenterPoint Energy is reminding natural gas customers to clear snow and ice away from their meters and regulators.

Snow and ice on the meter or on the roof above the meter could lead to potentially dangerous conditions, including natural gas buildup in homes and businesses and service disruptions, the company said.

Regulators are designed to maintain a constant pressure, ensure safe delivery of natural gas and vent natural gas safely to the atmosphere.

Accumulations of snow and ice on the meter set can cause the regulator to malfunction by blocking the vent and freezing the regulator, which can potentially lead to natural gas venting inside the home rather than outside.

Thawing snow or ice dams from rooftops above the meter should be kept clear to prevent ice from encasing the meter or chunks of ice falling on the meter causing potential damage.

Additionally, customers should maintain a path clear of snow or debris to provide easy access to the natural gas meter.

CenterPoint Energy offered additional safety tips:

• Do not deposit snow piles on or near the meter.

• 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.

• Call 1-800-296-9815 if there is ice on the meter or one or more of the following conditions exist: 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 a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same.

• Do not start or drive your car 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 emergency gas leak hotline at 1-800-296-9815 and 911 to report the location and description of the leak. CenterPoint Energy will dispatch a trained service technician immediately.

For more natural gas safety tips, visit the company's website at CenterPointEnergy.com/BeSafe.