December 1, 2016
Dear Public & Emergency Official,
Eversource cares about your safety and the safety of your community. Every day, we deliver clean and efficient natural gas to more than 226,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Connecticut. Natural gas is the most popular home heating fuel in America, and its pipeline system is among the safest and most secure methods of transporting energy.
For the safety of those who live or work in areas with underground natural gas pipelines and related facilities, it is vital that Eversource provide you with information about the characteristics of natural gas and how to recognize and respond in the unlikely event of a gas leak emergency. For additional gas safety information, please visit our website at Eversource.com.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Communications
Public safety is a top priority for Eversource, as is the security of our pipeline facilities. We are regulated by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety.
In responding to an emergency, our priorities are to protect life first, then to protect property. We maintain regular communication with municipal officials and emergency personnel, and follow emergency plans detailing our response and communications during any natural gas pipeline emergency. In an emergency, Eversource employees work in tandem with local emergency officials and, if established, an Incident Commander to assess hazards and suggest corrective action.
Eversource offers a program of education and gas safety awareness to all the fire department personnel in our service areas. We can provide the training annually but try to reach every fire department within our service areas once every three years. We encourage the fire officials to contact us directly to schedule a time and location for this gas safety presentation. Company representatives will discuss gas safety and how we will work with the fire department whenever they are on site during a gas emergency.
Recognizing a Gas Leak: What to Do
Eversource invests millions of dollars each year to maintain the safety and integrity of its natural gas mains and services throughout Connecticut.
You should suspect a gas main or service leak if you:
· Smell a “rotten egg” odor
· Hear an unusual hissing sound
· See debris blowing away from the area where gas enters a building
In the event of a natural gas emergency, Eversource is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you suspect a gas leak, do not use a phone in the building. Leave the building immediately and call us from another location or a cell phone outdoors. Our toll-free number is: 877-944-5325, or dial 9-1-1.
Digging Near Natural Gas Facilities
In certain circumstances, damage by non-utility excavators can occur. Eversource has a very active damage prevention program for contractors and excavators. Our program is coordinated with Connecticut’s well-established Call Before You Dig program governed by a set of state regulations, which all stakeholders must follow. Visit www.cbyd.com to view excavator manuals that list state regulations for safe excavation practices. Excavation damage can be prevented by following these steps:
· Call 8-1-1 or 800-922-4455 every time you plan to excavate.
· Hand-dig above ALL natural gas facilities.
· Contact Eversource if there are any concerns about gas line markings.
Hazard Awareness & Prevention
The natural gas transportation system has a superior safety record compared to other types of transportation systems in this country. Natural gas is clean, convenient and efficient, which makes it a popular energy choice.
Like all forms of energy, however, it must be handled properly. A gas leak caused by damage to a pipeline may pose a hazard and has the potential to ignite. Eversource works diligently to ensure pipeline safety through a variety of measures, including:
· Call Before You Dig and 8-1-1 programs
· Inspection programs
· Design and construction practices
· Workforce qualifications
· Public education programs
· Industry safety practices and government oversight
· Pipeline markers and facility mapping
· Leak survey
· Patrol of critical facilities
· Pressure monitoring
· Liaison with municipal agencies
· Security measures
Safety Program for Schools
In October, we reached out directly to 3rd to 6th grade teachers in the communities we serve, offering complimentary standards-based activity booklets, lesson plans, state standards correlations, assessments and online resources for students to learn more about natural gas science and safety. We also reached out to administrators and simultaneously notify the Superintendent’s office to build support for this important program.
If you have any questions about our underground natural gas pipelines and facilities, please call me at 860-4607530. Thank you.