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PSE offers tips about identifying natural gas leaks

Puget Sound Energy is sending information tips with bills about how to identify natural gas leaks. - COURTESY PHOTO, PSE
Puget Sound Energy is sending information tips with bills about how to identify natural gas leaks.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO, PSE

The Puget Sound Energy bills now reaching more than 1.5 million homes and businesses through October include a scratch and sniff pamphlet to remind customers of the odorant used to help identify natural gas leaks.

A scratch on the natural gas safety pamphlet releases a distinctive, sulfur-like aroma, a smell similar to rotten eggs, according to a PSE media release. To help detect natural gas leaks more easily, PSE and other natural gas utilities add an odorant, called mercaptan, to natural gas, which is naturally odorless and colorless.

“Every family needs to know that ‘rotten egg’ odor of natural gas so they can recognize, react and report a gas leak around their home or elsewhere,” said Andy Wappler, vice president of corporate affairs for PSE. “Safety comes first, and having your family know what to do is our top priority.”

In addition to bearing the “rotten egg smell”, the pamphlet also guides people to call 811 two days before digging to prevent damage to underground utility lines; and on how to recognize and safely report suspected natural gas leaks by going to a safe location and calling PSE at 1-888-225-5773 or 911 from a safe distance. PSE natural gas technicians will respond immediately at no charge from service centers located across Western Washington.

If a natural gas odor is smelled inside a house or building, the occupants should leave the premises immediately.

“Smell isn’t the only way to detect a natural gas leak,” added Wappler. “A hissing sound or blowing dirt may also indicate a possible natural gas leak.”

If anyone suspects a natural gas leak, follow these steps:

• Leave the area immediately.

• Do not use phones, and do not turn any electric switches, appliances or lights on or off.

• Do not smoke, light a match, use a lighter or do anything that might create a spark.

• Use a phone well away from the area and call PSE, 24 hours a day, at 1-888-225-5773, or 911.

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