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Nicor Gas Offers Natural Gas Safety Information for Tornado Impacted Areas in Ottawa and Naplate

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – March 1, 2017 – Nicor Gas is providing support after tornadoes hit the Naplate and Ottawa areas of its service territory Tuesday, leaving behind widespread damage and natural gas service outages. Dozens of homes are experiencing disruptions to natural gas service, and Nicor Gas continues to make assessments to its system to determine if more damage has been sustained. Crews continue to work with first responders in these communities as they restore service as quickly and as safely as possible. 

With the safety of the public, its employees and its pipelines at the forefront, Nicor Gas would like to offer the following natural gas safety tips:

Detecting Gas Leaks 

  • If customers smell the rotten egg odor that is often associated with natural gas, they should immediately leave the affected area and call the 24-hour emergency response line at Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748) from a safe location. 
  • Residents should never try to identify the source of a leak themselves. 
  • If the odor of gas is present, do not use a telephone or cellular phone, turn light switches on or off, operate any appliance or do anything that might cause a spark, such as lighting a match.
Damage Prevention 
  • Strong winds and saturated grounds could cause trees to become uprooted. Before removing downed trees, customers should dial JULIE by calling 8-1-1 or 1-800-892-0123 to have the location of underground utility lines marked, because downed trees could become tangled with the natural gas lines. 
  • If a natural gas meter is damaged or gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call the 24-hour emergency response line at Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748) from a safe location. 
Meter Safety 
  • Customers are encouraged to know how to locate their natural gas meter.
  • Following tornadoes, ensure the gas meter is visible, and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.
  • If a natural gas meter is damaged or gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call the Nicor Gas’ 24-hour emergency response number at Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748).
Appliance Safety
  • Customers are advised to leave their natural gas service on during a severe storm. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out. 
  • If flooding occurs at a residence or business and the gas appliances are under water, customers are advised not to operate their appliances until a safety inspection is conducted.
Natural Gas Generators
  • During a power outage, natural gas generators provide continuous fuel supply from an existing natural gas line. While these units are available in a range of sizes to meet various energy needs, customers are encouraged to contact Nicor Gas to determine whether their service line meets load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.

About Nicor Gas 
Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit www.nicorgas.com.

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company.  Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.5 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in seven states and more than 1 million retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate gas pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at www.southerncompanygas.com. 

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Media Contact:

Jae Miller | o: 630.388.2208 | c: 224.239.9354 | janmille@southernco.com