Natural Gas Safety
Safety is an important concern — not just for utility workers, but for member-owners who use those utilities as well. At PIE&G we are continuously working to foster an innovative, safe work environment, and to make sure your homes and business are safe also.
When accidents happen, it is important for you as an electric and/or gas service recipient to know what to do. You will find guidelines and tips for the most common safety concerns here on our webpage. And of course, you can always call a Member Service Representative at 1-800-423-6634 with any questions.
If your equipment makes contact with the utility line, stop your excavation and contact the utility company immediately. This includes if you nick, dent, gouge, cut, scrape, or scratch the pipeline coating. Contacting the utility allows the utility company the opportunity to investigate.
Don’t assume that damage can occur only at the point of contact. A utility facility that is pulled or bumped could break at a location away from the actual excavation site. Failure to notify the utility owner of these occurrences could result in future corrosion and/or failure. (Public Act 53, Section 12)
During construction, when working in or near an area containing underground gas facilities, be alert to the following signs of potential hazard:
- Natural gas odor in or near your excavation site. To make it easier to recognize natural gas, a rotten egg odor is added. However, some natural gas pipelines in Michigan do not carry odorized gas.
- Apparent or non-apparent damage to pipes that have been broken pulled, dislodged or gouged.
- Brown patches in vegetation on or near a right-of-way.
- Dry spots in moist earth.
- Evidence of blowing (gas) noise, blowing dirt or bubbling mud or water.
- Fire coming from the ground or burning above the ground.
Natural gas is odorless and colorless, so a harmless substance is added to make it smell like rotten eggs.
Why? So you can easily detect a gas leak.
If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak:
- Leave the area at once.
- Go to a location outside of the house or building where you no longer smell gas.
- Call 1-800-655-8565 immediately to report the situation.
- Get immediate medical attention for victims of burns or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Light matches or smoke. Avoid use of all open flames.
- Use any electrical device, including appliances, doorbells and garage door openers.
- Turn light switches on and off.
- Use any phones, including cellular phones.
- Try to locate the source of the gas leak.
- Re-enter the building or return to the area until PIE&G representative tells you it’s safe to do so.
Before You Dig, contact MISS DIG – 1-800-482-7171 or dial 811
MISS DIG is a convenient method of notification for anyone who plans to excavate, tunnel, drill, bore, or discharge explosives. Under Michigan’s law and Federal regulations, it is your responsiblity to notify utilities prior to any planned excavation.
PIEG has underground and overhead electric lines, as well as an underground natural gas distribution system. You must call MISS DIG three (3) working days before you dig.
We will identify our underground facilities using red flags for electric and yellow flags for natural gas.
When planning work that could involve equipment coming in contact with overhead electric lines, protective measures must be taken. This is to maintain clearance between wires and equipment per State and Federal safety standards. The distances can vary between 10′ and 33′. If you are in doubt, call MISS DIG. PIEG will dispatch a representative to meet you at the location specified. The PIEG representative will check the electric lines in the vicinity of your work and advise you of the voltages involved and distance required.
Failure to contact MISS DIG may result in you being liable for damages to PIEG facilities.
To report an outage, call PIE&G at 1-800-423-6634.
If your lights go off during a storm, be prepared for the power outage. Assemble supplies to have on hand rather than rushing around when the storm is coming and waiting in long lines fo rmilk or bread. Rotate your supplies to keep them fresh and use the following checklist to prepare for power outages:
Have Plenty of Food
- Keep a 3- to 5-day supply of drinking water in plastic bottles. Plan on at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
- Store a manual can opener with enough nonperishable foods for 3 to 5 days. Canned meats, tuna fish and peanut butter are good foods to store. Don’t forget pet foods!
- Conserve water by using paper plates and plastic utensils.
- Have a camp stove or grill for outdoor cooking.
Stay In Touch
- Have a portable,battery-powered radio and alarm clock.
- Have one non-portable phone that will work even if power is interrupted.
- Plan where to meet and how to communicate with family members if separated.
Keep essential family member contact information near your phone, in your wallet, and in your glove compartment.
Keep Things Going
- Keep plenty of gas in your car.
- Keep extra batteries, matches, propane, charcoal and firewood.
Stay Happy, Healthy and Warm
- Coordinate with neighbors for care of the elderly and disabled living alone.
- Maintain a supply of prescriptions, nonprescription drugs, vitamins and special dietary foods.
- Playing cards, books, drawing and writing supplies, and board games help pass the time. If you have a video camera and tapes, your family can make a storm documentary.
- Keep sanitary and personal hygiene supplies replenished. Premoistened cleansing towelettes are useful and help conserve water.
- Use plastic trash bags and ties for garbage.
- Put first-aid kits in your home and car.
- Make sure you have cold weather clothing, foul weather gear, blankets and sleeping bags.
- Consider purchasing alternative UL-approved heating devices. For example, a fireplace insert or woodstove will keep the heat in your home instead of up the chimney.
- Use flashlights and other battery-operated lighting instead of candles.
- Keep fire extinguishers fully charged.
- Fill your bathtub with water for bathroom use before the storm (if you have a well).