Serious Snow and Ice Safety Risks for Natural Gas Meters

Safety Concerns from Columbia Gas of Massachusetts

Westborough, MA — Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is concerned with recent incidents involving large icicles and snow accumulation falling from rooftops onto natural gas meters.  This can cause a rupture in the gas line and result in a serious gas leak.  Also, snow and ice covered natural gas meters, and snow removing equipment striking gas meters has caused the release of natural gas.

With significant snowfall and frigid temperatures in the forecast, it is extremely important to make sure that your natural gas meter, and the exhaust vents for your heating equipment and other appliances are free of snow and ice. Gas equipment requires adequate airflow for safe combustion and proper venting of appliances to prevent a dangerous carbon monoxide situation.

The build-up of ice and snow around or over a natural gas meter poses a serious safety risk.  Ice and snow falling from the eaves and gutters above your gas meter can damage the meter or service connections, potentially resulting in a gas leak. Please use a broom instead of a shovel to clear ice and snow from your gas meter.  Don't kick or hit the gas meter to break away snow and ice.  Don’t shovel snow up against your meter.  Be careful when using a snow blower or snow plow near your meter.  Where possible, have a clear path to your gas meter in the event a technician or emergency responder should require access.

If your meter is encased in ice which you cannot remove, contact Columbia Gas for assistance at 1-800-677-5052.  If you think there’s a problem with the gas piping or equipment, or if you smell gas, call Columbia’s 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-525-8222.

“The safety and comfort of our customers and communities is our number one priority,” said Steve Bryant, President of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.  “We ask that you be diligent in removing snow and ice from above and around your natural gas meter, keep your appliance vents clear and your gas meter accessible.  With record snowfall over the past month and continuing in the next couple days, this winter season continues to be a challenge for us all.”  

About Columbia Gas of Massachusetts — Columbia Gas of Massachusetts delivers clean, efficient natural gas to over 300,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Massachusetts, the greater Springfield area and the Merrimack Valley. Headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, the company is the largest gas-only provider in the state. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NiSource Inc. based in Merrillville, Ind., which is a Fortune 500 holding company whose core operating companies engage in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution. NiSource operating companies deliver energy to 3.7 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England.

For more safety tips and information visit the Columbia Gas of Massachusetts website.