CenterPoint Energy asks homeowners and businesses to use care when clearing snow or ice near natural gas meters

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CenterPoint Energy logo. (PRNewsFoto)

Feb. 19, 2021 – As customers deal with severe winter weather, CenterPoint Energy is asking 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.

Customers should also make sure any outside vents and air intakes for gas appliances are not blocked by snow or ice, because it can cause a potentially fatal indoor build-up of carbon monoxide. Pay particular attention to side-wall vents and air intakes for furnaces, water heaters and clothes dryers to make sure they are not partially or fully blocked.

CenterPoint Energy offers these important tips to protect your natural gas meter in the winter weather and ensure safe, reliable service:

Don’t pile snow on or near your natural gas meter. Maintain a clear path to your meter to allow access in an emergency.

Use care when clearing snow on and around the meter. 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.

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.

Report damage to a struck meter from a vehicle or fallen tree branch to 888-876-5786.

Remove large icicles hanging over meter assemblies and appliance vents.

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 888-876-5786.

As always, we’d like to encourage customers to maintain safety practices around the use of natural gas:

Make sure your heating system is working properly. Malfunctioning home heating equipment can cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Check that outside furnace vents aren’t blocked by snow or ice. Keep your furnace filter clean for safe, efficient operation.

Use space heaters safely. Use a space heater with an automatic shut-off, and keep children, pets and all items at least three feet away. A space heater that uses gas, propane or wood should be vented to the outside. Stoves and ovens should never be used for space heating.

Check your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms. These devices are essential to warn you of a fire or dangerous malfunction with a furnace, water heater, fireplace or stove. Test your alarms monthly and change batteries every year.