Black Hills Energy, the parent company of SourceGas, has issued a reminder during these snowy days in Wyoming. Gas meters can easily be buried particularly when the wind causes intense drifting. Here is the release from Black Hills...

Snow and ice buildup on your natural gas meter can create a safety hazard and even cut off the flow of natural gas to your heating and appliances. To avoid trouble, gently remove snow and ice from on and around the meter with your hands or a broom.

Gas meters and regulators are durable and designed with the weather in mind, but a coating of ice or snow could cause a loss of service and become a critical safety issue. If at all possible, remove the snow before it has a chance to freeze.

• Gently clear snow away by hand or with a broom. You’ll put yourself and everyone nearby at serious risk if you strike and damage any part of the meter with a shovel, ice pick or other tool. And you could be liable for expensive damage.
• Keep snow blowers and shovels away from gas meters and other above-ground equipment.
• Carefully clear snow away from the outdoor vent on high-efficiency furnaces. The furnace won’t run safely and efficiently if the vent is blocked.
• Safely remove icicles hanging from overhead eaves that could fall and damage gas meters below.
• Point out the meter and any other above-ground utility structures to anyone you hire for snow removal.

“If you aren’t comfortable removing ice buildup yourself, please call us and we’ll be happy to come out and do it for you at no charge,” said Scott Schmidt, Black Hills Energy’s gas operations supervisor.

If you think you smell gas
To help you detect a leak, natural gas is injected with an odorant that many compare to the stench of rotten eggs. If you suspect an indoor gas leak:
• Get everyone out and away from the building immediately. Call 911 or Black Hills Energy’s 24-hour emergency number (800-264-1109).
• As you exit, don’t touch any switches or electronics, and leave windows and doors as-is. That will help avoid creating a spark of static electricity capable of igniting any gas in the air.
• Account for everyone, and then don’t under any circumstances go back inside. Emergency responders and Black Hills Energy technicians will let you know when it’s safe to return.