Advice from SoCal Gas on clearing gas meters.
One of the many houses that caught fire, apparently as the result of a gas leak.
By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Confusion was running rampant as folks posted on Facebook. Some said you should clear the snow away from your gas meter. Others advised against it.
In the community meetings and press conferences that were held during and just after the recent series of storms, the advice was no less confusing.
Battalion Chief Michael McClintock of County Fire shared what he called official language from SoCal Gas regarding gas meters:
If you can, and if it is safe to do so, we encourage you to clear the snow away from your meter with a broom or brush — never use a shovel or hard object to remove the snow from the meter as this risks damaging the meter.
Residents should know there are no systemwide gas outages or interruptions in the area. In the majority of instances, your meter being buried in snow does not present a safety hazard; however, falling snow and ice could potentially damage your meter. If you do not smell gas, please do not turn off your gas meter.
If you believe your gas meter has been damaged or smell gas, please call the fire department or SoCal Gas at (800) 427-2200 immediately.
At a county press conference on March 3, County Fire Chief Dan Munsey noted there have been “more structure fires than normal. We believe they have been due to natural gas leaks. We are working with investigators to determine the cause and origin.”
Over the previous 48 hours, the chief said on March 3, there had been five such fires. Since then, there have been reports of several more.
On Saturday, March 4, several SoCal Gas customers reported receiving this text from the utility: “Be cautious of meter damage. If safe, clear snow off meter with broom/brush. Report damage or gas smell to fire department or SoCal Gas at (800) 427-2200.”