Citizens Energy Safety
When used in properly maintained equipment, natural gas is an extremely safe fuel for all home and industrial uses. Transported over a network of more than 2 million miles of pipeline, natural gas leaks and related accidents are extremely rare.
Natural gas is inherently safer than other fossil fuels like oil or gasoline because it is non-toxic and lighter than air, and therefore it quickly dissipates when released. Natural gas is very difficult to ignite, requiring just the right mixture of gas and oxygen.
The natural gas industry and appliance manufacturers utilize the following measures to ensure safety:
- Gas odorant – To ensure that gas leaks are easily detected, natural gas distribution companies inject a harmless odorant into natural gas to make it smell like rotten eggs.
- Off means off – When you use a gas stove, off means off. Once you shut off the gas flame the burner cools quickly, unlike electric stoves which remain red hot even after the burner is shut off.
- Shut off valves – Most recently manufactured gas appliances have easy to use valves that shut off the gas flow to the appliance when it is being moved or serviced.
- Pipeline markers – Natural gas pipelines and gas mains locations are clearly identified with markers at road crossings and other high use areas.
- Pipeline maintenance – Natural gas pipelines are carefully maintained to ensure safety.
- Right of way inspection – Natural gas pipeline right of ways are visually inspected to prevent encroachment by buildings and activity that might cause pipeline damage.
- Pipeline location service – Natural gas utilities provide free pipeline location service for residents and businesses that must dig on their property.