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Blocked meters can cause natural gas emergencies

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 Cold weather and snow could cause a dangerous problem inside Minnesota homes heated with natural gas. 

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) officials are urging Minnesota residents to check gas meters on their homes and other buildings to be sure they stay free of ice and snow that can block the regulator vent and cause it to malfunction. 

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Gas meters have a pressure regulator vent that must be unobstructed to work properly. Two things could happen if that vent is sealed and the gas regulator doesn’t work:

  • A possible gas leak, which could lead to a fire or explosion
  • Service interruptions 

West advises people to brush the snow off and not shovel it away from the meter. Residents should call their gas company if the meter is covered in ice; professionals have the proper training and tools to safely open up the vent.

Gas meters that ice up regularly are usually below the drip line of a roof, and catch moisture when snow melts and drips. If the meter ices over, plan to clean gutters and set them up in the spring so the meter stays safe year-round.

About the Minnesota Department Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. 

About the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety

The mission of the Office of Pipeline Safety is to protect lives, property, and the environment through implementation of a gas and hazardous liquid pipeline inspections program, enforcement, accident and incident investigations, and education.

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