ATLANTA – September 28, 2022 – With safety of the public, its employees and its pipelines at the forefront, Atlanta Gas Light is closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Ian and how it may impact service operations and customers in parts of Georgia. Atlanta Gas Light is implementing its comprehensive emergency response plan and is advising customers to take the necessary precautions now to protect themselves and their families.
Meteorologists are predicting that Hurricane Ian could bring substantial rain, damaging winds and the potential for flooding in South and Coastal Georgia. Atlanta Gas Light is providing the following guidelines associated with natural gas safety before, during and after the storm:
Before the Storm
Losing natural gas service during severe weather and power outages is rare because pipe infrastructure is below ground. However, there are several safety precautions customers should take to keep you and your community safe.
- Atlanta Gas Light advises customers to leave the gas meter on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within their homes or businesses Only Atlanta Gas Light or emergency personnel should turn the meter valve off, but customers are encouraged to know the location of the natural gas meter on their premises.
- In most cases your natural gas service will operate uninterrupted throughout the storm, and most modern gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out. However, in cases of severe lightning, customers might want to unplug natural gas appliances to avoid possible electrical damage.
- Customers are urged to report any suspected natural gas leak or other natural gas emergency to the Atlanta Gas Light 24-hour emergency response line at 877.427.4321.
- The damage assessment and restoration process begins once the storm has passed and it’s safe for our crews to proceed with gathering information to determine the extent of service needs in affected areas.
During/After the storm
- Natural gas is injected with a chemical odorant called mercaptan, which produces a distinctive “rotten egg” smell. If the odor of gas is present when you return to your home, immediately leave the affected area and call our 24-hour emergency response line at 877.427.4321, or dial 911, from a safe location. Never try to identify the source of a leak yourself.
- If you smell gas, avoid using any potential sources of ignition, such as cell phones, cigarettes, matches, flashlights, electronic devices, motorized vehicles, light switches or landline phones. A spark could ignite natural gas and cause a fire or explosion.
- If flooding occurs and gas appliances are - or were - submerged under water, do not try to operate the appliances.
- During clean up and repair after a storm, avoid causing damage to the gas lines by calling 811 before digging - it's the law. This also pertains to removing downed trees as they may become entangled with natural gas lines. Calling 811 keeps you, your neighbors and your community safe.
- Following a weather emergency, ensure the gas meter is visible and that the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage an unseen meter. If a natural gas meter is damaged or a gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call our 24-hour emergency response number at 877.427.4321 or dial 911.
If your gas service is interrupted because of a severe storm, restoration time depends on a number of factors, including when water in flooded areas recedes, when customers’ homes and businesses are free of standing water, when any infrastructure damage can be safely repaired and when Atlanta Gas Light personnel can safely enter homes and businesses and access appliances.
- Customers are advised to leave their natural gas service operational during a hurricane or severe storm. Most modern gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of natural gas automatically with a loss of gas pressure or flooding of the appliances.
- Leaving appliances operational could prevent further damage of water getting into the customer’s fuel line or appliance control valves. Electronic ignition appliances will not come on when the power source has been impacted.
- If you are uncomfortable leaving your appliances operational, contact a trained professional (certified plumber or HVAC representative) to shut off your appliances at the shut-off valves. When it is safe to do so, have them return to turn the valves back on, leak test the line and turn on and test the appliance for safe operation.
Detecting Gas Leaks
- If customers smell the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas, they should leave the area immediately and move a safe distance away from the potential leak, while avoiding any action that may cause sparks.
- Look for blowing dirt, discolored vegetation or continued bubbling in standing water.
- Customers should never try to identify the source of a leak or stop the leak themselves.
- Customers should call the Atlanta Gas Light 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-427-4321 or 911 once they are in a safe place out of the area of the suspected leak. They should also stay away until Atlanta Gas Light or emergency personnel indicate it is safe to return.
- Strong winds and saturated ground could cause trees to become uprooted. Before removing downed trees, customers should contact Georgia 811 to have the location of underground utility lines marked because downed trees could become tangled with the utility lines.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or natural gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area and call the Atlanta Gas Light 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-427-4321 or 911 from a safe location.
Natural Gas Generators
- During a power outage, natural gas generators can 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 Atlanta Gas Light prior to the installation to determine whether their service line and meter meets load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
- To ensure the safe, proper operation of natural gas appliances, and to prevent the potentially hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide within your home or business, ensure that outdoor vent openings and air intakes are not obstructed.
- If customers smell natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present in their home or business, they should immediately leave the area and call the Atlanta Gas Light 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-427-4321 or 911 from a safe location.
- Residents are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately if anyone in their home or business experiences possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
For more information about natural gas safety, visit https://www.atlantagaslight.com/safety/safety-precautions/severe-weather-safety.html.