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Columbia Gas of Ohio Offers Winter Safety Tips as Bitter Cold Returns to Region

Monday, March 03, 2014

As Ohio prepares for the latest blast of frigid temperatures, Columbia Gas of Ohio reminds customers of important safety tips during snowy and icy conditions.

Additionally, Columbia Gas crews across the region will be working to ensure safe, reliable natural gas delivery. The company will be responding to emergency and essential calls around the clock. Customers experiencing any natural gas related issues should call 1-800-344-4077.

To avoid safety hazards, customers should:

  • Keep natural gas meters clear of snow and ice to ensure they are visible at all times for maintenance by Columbia Gas, and if necessary emergency responders, and to ensure proper venting.
  • Remove snow from the meter with hands or a broom. Never use a shovel, or kick or hit the meter to break away snow or ice. If the meter is encased in ice, contact Columbia Gas for assistance.
  • Keep fresh air and exhaust vents for natural gas appliances free of snow, ice and debris to prevent equipment malfunction.
  • Use caution when removing snow from flat rooftops, especially in commercial and industrial buildings, as there may be heating and cooling equipment and electric or fuel lines that may not be visible under the snow.
  • As always, if customers smell natural gas at any time, they should leave the area and call Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077.

Due to the harsh winter, many homeowners may be struggling to pay their heating bills. Customers should contact Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077, at the first sign that they may have difficulty paying their heating bills. There are several payment plans and options available for customers.

Columbia Gas also offers several energy efficiency programs for all income levels. These programs provide for a home energy inspection or audit, and safety checks of natural gas appliances. The programs also provide additional incentives to implement recommendations made by the professional energy auditors. More information is available at Save Energy & Money!.

With the extreme cold, should a home utilize an alternative or secondary heating source, Columbia reminds families to be safe by using energy wisely, including:

  • Keeping flammable items, including paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, fireplaces and stoves.
  • Place portable space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away.
  • Look for a model that shuts off automatically if the space heater tips over. Do not use heating equipment to dry wet clothing.
  • Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Never leave portable heaters, wood burning stoves or fireplaces unattended. Turn them off before leaving or going to bed.
  • Keep the fire in the fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

Columbia Gas of Ohio safely delivers clean and efficient natural gas to approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties. With headquarters in Columbus, it is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) and is the largest natural gas utility in the state. NiSource companies deliver energy to approximately 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England. 

For information about natural gas safety and what to do if you suspect a gas leak, go to SafeGasOhio.org