LINCOLN, Neb.– March 19, 2019 – Black Hills Energy has activated it’s emergency response plan and is continuing to assess the safety and reliability of the natural gas system in flooded communities. When it is safe to do so, technicians are turning off gas service to individual meters prior to flooding. As of today, technicians had responded to flooding in the following communities and turned off service to individual meters when safely possible: Ansley, Arcadia, Arlington, Battle Creek, Bellevue, Buccaneer Bay, Burwell, Dannenbrog, Gibbon, Greeley, Holdrege, Kearney, Newman Grove, Nickerson, Peru, Pierce, Plattsmouth, St. Paul, the Sarpy County lake community of Hawaiian Village and Wood River. Technicians are currently assessing natural gas service in the communities of Schuyler, Valley, and Waterloo.
Black Hills Energy is closely monitoring the situation and preparing to assess the natural gas system as soon as it’s possible to safely do so in the following areas: Ashland area National Guard Camp and North Bend.
“Safety is always our first concern and we are asking our customers to be alert for signs of natural gas leaks caused by flooding,” said Kevin Jarosz, Black Hills Energy’s Nebraska natural gas operations director. “If you think you smell gas or your natural gas appliances or meter have been impacted by floodwaters, you need to act fast. Leave the area, and call 911 or Black Hills Energy’s emergency number.”
Floodwaters carry silt and other contaminants that could extinguish natural gas pilot lights and damage natural gas meters and appliances, including water heaters and furnaces. The company requests that impacted customers call Black Hills Energy when returning to a home or business once floodwaters recede to have gas the natural gas service inspected. Black Hills Energy will inspect the metering equipment prior to restoring gas service.
The utility also recommends calling an appliance repair professional to inspect natural gas appliances and replacing flood damaged appliances when possible.
Customers should also be advised of the following natural gas safety tips:
- If you smell natural gas, get everyone out of the building or area immediately. Don’t touch any electrical switches or raise any windows on the way out. Doing so can create a spark of static electricity that could ignite a gas leak.
- Don’t use a phone within the immediate location – use a neighbor’s phone or a cell phone safely away from the building or area to call 911 or Black Hills Energy’s emergency number. Black Hills Energy’s 24-hour emergency number is 800-694-8989.
- Be aware of suspicious behavior, scammers will often impersonate utility employees, demand immediate payment and make threats to disconnect service. Black Hills Energy employees will always have identification and never demand payment in person. If your account is at risk for service disconnection or you’re due a refund, you will receive advanced written notice by mail.”