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National Grid Encourages Customers to "Use Their Senses" and be Aware of Gas Leaks as Spring Thaw Begins

Company also Reminds Customers of Importance of Carbon Monoxide Safety.

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Long Island, NY - March 24, 2014 - As the spring thaw begins – following a record cold winter season for the Northeast – National Grid reminds customers what actions they should take if they suspect a natural gas leak and how to avoid exposure to potentially deadly carbon monoxide.

This winter hasn’t just been hard on those of us trying to stay warm. The frigid temperatures, and now the current season of repeated thawing and freezing, can also have an impact on underground pipe systems as well. Even though National Grid’s system is safe and operating normally, it’s always important for customers to know to call their natural gas service provider immediately if they suspect a gas leak.

Use Your Senses

Since natural gas leaks are often recognized by smell, sight or sound, National Grid encourages customers to “use their senses” to stay vigilant about potential gas leaks.

SMELL – Natural gas is colorless and odorless. A harmless substance called mercaptan, which has a distinctive, pungent odor, similar to rotten eggs, is added so that you’ll recognize it quickly.

SIGHT – Outdoors you may see a white cloud, mist, fog, and bubbles in standing water or blowing dust. You may also see vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason.

SOUND – You may hear an unusual noise like roaring, hissing or whistling.

If You Suspect a Natural Gas Leak, Call Us

National Grid’s number one priority is the safety of the public. Our natural gas leak management program supports this priority and is consistent with current industry standards and similar to those of other gas distribution companies.

Like any fuel, natural gas is safe when used properly. In the interest of customer and public safety, National Grid crews continually test, repair and improve the underground system that delivers natural gas, and we have increased patrolling of our system to monitor any potential gas leaks in light of recent harsh temperatures. But, the possibility does exist for a gas leak in or near your home.

Any natural gas leak is a potentially hazardous situation. If you suspect a natural gas leak, National Grid recommends that you evacuate the premises for your own safety while taking the following immediate actions:

  • Evacuate your home and move to a safe area.
  • Do NOT smoke, light matches or do anything to create a flame.
  • Do NOT touch any light switches or electrical equipment and do NOT pull any plugs from outlets. These items may produce a spark that might ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
  • If you have a gas range or oven, make sure the controls are turned OFF. Extinguish any easily accessible open flames such as lit candles, but never try to put out a fire you suspect may be caused by escaping gas. Leave immediately.
  • Do NOT assume someone else will report the condition.
  • Call National Grid’s gas emergency number from a safe location:

        Massachusetts: 1-800-233-5325

        Rhode Island: 1-800-640-1595

        Long Island and the Rockaways: 1-800-490-0045

        Metro NY: 1-718-643-4050

        Upstate NY: 1-800-892-2345

  • These are dedicated Gas Emergency phone numbers. National Grid has crews on call 24 hours/7 days a week who will respond immediately.
  • Provide the exact location, including cross streets.
  • Let us know if sewer construction or digging activities are gong on in the area.
  • Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly if left undetected. It is the byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, butane, propane, wood, coal, heating oil, kerosene and gasoline. Common sources of carbon monoxide include malfunctioning forced-air furnaces, kerosene space heaters, natural gas ranges, wood stoves, fireplaces and motor vehicle engines. During the heating season when windows and doors are tightly shut, fresh air is sealed out, creating the potential for carbon monoxide to build up over time. National Grid reminds its customers of the following safety information to help identify and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending upon the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.

If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and call 911 first. After calling 911, call the appropriate National Grid emergency contact number:

Massachusetts: 1-800-233-5325
Rhode Island: 1-800-640-1595
Long Island and the Rockaways: 1-800-490-0045
Metro NY: 1-718-643-4050
Upstate NY: 1-800-892-2345

Do not return to your home until the carbon monoxide source is found.

Carbon Monoxide Prevention Tips:

  • Arrange for an annual check of your heating system by a licensed professional heating contractor. If you haven’t had your heating system inspected yet, call now.
  • Check chimneys or flues for debris, bird nests or other blockages, and have them cleaned periodically.
  • Be sure space heaters and wood stoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • NEVER use a gas range for heating or burn coal or charcoal in an enclosed space.
  • Install a government-approved home carbon monoxide detector on every floor.
  • If you use a back-up generator to supply power during outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Open windows do not provide sufficient ventilation to safely operate a generator indoors.

National Grid will respond immediately to all carbon-monoxide related calls for all natural gas customers within its service area – even if you purchase natural gas from an alternative gas supplier or marketer. However, please always call 911 first.

For additional safety information, visit:

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.

In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.

National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

For more information please visit our website: