Gas meters covered with snow may not operate correctly and may cause gas flow or carbon monoxide problems, according to a prepared statement from Black Hills Energy.

The 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.

Customers should safely remove snow from the meters, and make sure that melting snow does not coat them with ice, which also can affect their operation.

Black Hills Energy offers these tips for removing snow from meters:

  • Gently clear snow away by hand or with a broom. Do not use a shovel, ice pick or other sharp tools, because they could damage the meters and make the situation worse.
  • 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.
  • Remove ice buildup from eaves that could fall and damage gas meters below.
  • Show the meter and other above-ground utility structures to anyone you hire to remove snow.

The company also offers these suggestions to stay safe:

  • Natural gas smells like rotten eggs for a reason. If you smell it, immediately leave the area, and call 911 once you’re away from the site.
  • Wait for Black Hills Energy or emergency personnel to arrive before re-entering the building. Emergency personnel will let you know when it’s safe to return.
  • Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Ensure your home is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, and never use gas ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.
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