Residential Safety Tips

General Pipeline Safety

General Pipeline Safety

Pipeline Purpose and Reliability

SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company utilizes an extensive network of underground pipelines to deliver natural gas to its customers. The purpose of these pipelines is to transport the natural gas from pipeline supply points to residential, commercial, and industrial customer meters. SEMCO ENERGY is committed to ensuring these pipelines are operated safely and reliably in accordance with Federal and State laws.

Natural Gas Safety Facts

As part of our ongoing customer education efforts, SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company offers these facts about Gas Company service and natural gas safety:
  • Natural gas is colorless and tasteless. To help you to recognize the presence of natural gas, SEMCO adds an odor similar to rotten eggs.
  • Natural gas is lighter than air, rises quickly, and spreads out harmlessly in open areas. However, in an enclosed area, natural gas displaces air at ceiling level and fills the room from the ceiling down.
  • Natural gas is not Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Liquefied petroleum gases, such as propane, are heavier than air, and unlike natural gas, will collect in low places.
  • Natural gas is not toxic or poisonous. However, as natural gas fills an enclosed space, it displaces air and suffocation can occur.
  • Natural gas cannot burn without oxygen. For natural gas to burn, it must be mixed with air and must have an ignition source, such as a pilot light or electric arc from a light switch, electric motor, doorbell, or telephone.
  • Burning natural gas will not explode. In many cases it is better to let the natural gas burn than to extinguish the fire. If the fire is extinguished prior to stopping the flow of gas, the gas has the potential to build-up to an explosive level.
If you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the building or area immediately and call SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company from another location. Report natural gas leaks and related emergencies to the SEMCO ENERGY Gas Leak/Emergency line - 1-888-GAS-1-GAS (1-888-427-1427) - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For Information About Other Pipelines In Your Area

For a listing of pipelines in your area, please visit the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) website at https://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/. This website enables the user to view the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) data one county at a time. NPMS data is for reference purposes only. It should never be used as a substitute for contacting a one-call center prior to excavation activities. Please call 811 before any digging occurs. Data cannot be downloaded from the Public Viewer.

Transmission Integrity Management Plan

In accordance with the Federal Pipeline Safety Act of 2002, SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company has developed and implemented its Transmission Integrity Management Plan (IMP) for the Transmission Pipelines we currently operate in the State of Michigan. The integrity management regulations within the Pipeline Safety Act of 2002 were designed to address the monitoring and maintenance of high pressure natural gas transmission pipelines in areas where a leak or other failure could have a serious effect on populations or the environment. SEMCO’s IMP has been designed to continue to provide low cost natural gas to its customers while ensuring industry safety standards for operations.

SEMCO’s IMP also illustrates and describes how new programs, processes and procedures are integrated with established Company programs, processes and procedures to support, administer, and conduct the IMP. A copy of SEMCO’s Transmission Integrity Management Plan is available upon request.

HANDS OFF FOR SAFETY

Don't Tamper With Gas Company Equipment

SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company reminds its customers not to attempt to service any natural gas equipment between their main and the meter - no matter how simple the procedure may seem.

All equipment from the service main, up to and including your gas meter, is considered SEMCO property and should be serviced and maintained only by SEMCO Service Technicians or by a certified private contactor.Customer-owned gas lines and connections between your meter and your home should be serviced by a certified private contractor.

If you need to have the gas to your home temporarily turned off for any reason, please contact SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company at 1-800-624-2019 to schedule an appointment for a SEMCO Service Technician to turn off the gas. A Service Technician also will restore gas service to your home.

Turning the valve leading to your gas meter on or off, or operating any SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company equipment yourself, could result in a serious safety hazard. Adjusting any Gas Company equipment also can result in legal action by SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company.

Remember, natural gas is a safe, efficient, and economical fuel when connected and maintained by trained professionals, such as SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company Service Technicians or certified private contractors.

CALL 811 BEFORE YOU DIG

It's now easier than ever to contact MISS DIG either by phone or via the internet.

Michigan residents - whether Do-It-Yourselfers or professional excavators - can now just call 811 to have all utility lines located before beginning any digging or excavation project.

811 is the new toll-free nationwide "Call Before You Dig" number. Just dial 811 and your call will be routed to the local "Call Before You Dig" system. That's MISS DIG in Michigan. A call to 811 in Michigan will quickly begin the process of getting underground utility lines marked. MISS DIG System, Inc. will notify affected member utility companies to send crews to mark underground lines for free.

The existing MISS DIG number for Michigan - 1-800-482-7171 - still can be used to contact the state program. 811 is an additional, easy-to-remember access number for MISS DIG.

The 811 number can be called from any phone - land line, cell or cable phone.  You can also go online at www.missdig.org to file a locating request.
 
Why call MISS Dig?  Michigan law requires property owners to contact MISS DIG three (3) business days before beginning any project involving digging. This helps avoid possible injuries or damage to natural gas and oil lines, electric, telephone, TV cable and water or sewer facilities. Failure to call MISS DIG could leave you facing costly repair bills for damaged utility-owned lines.

What MISS DIG does not cover.  Also be aware that, if you have any "customer-owned" pipes or lines in a project area, you are responsible for locating and marking them before your project begins.

Customer-owned pipes and lines are between the meter and your appliance. These include connections to yard lights, pool and spa heaters, garages, workshops, and similar areas.

To learn more about the MISS DIG program and 811, visit www.missdig.org or www.call811.com.

Sewer Clogs and Utility Lines

That Clog Just Might Be a Utility Line

A blocked sewer line may be the result of another utility line (gas, electric, communications) having been accidently bored through the sewer line.

Attemping to clear this type of blockage can result in a serious accident involving loss of life, injuries, and significant property damage. Please follow the precautionary measures in this brochure to help prevent such accidents.


Identifying Gas Pipeline Markers

Natural gas pipelines are usually underground, which is why it is so important to contact Miss Dig before beginning any project involving digging.

In some situations, SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company is required to identify its pipeline locations.

The pipeline markers typically used by SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company (as shown) include a number for Miss Dig (1-800-482-7171). Miss Dig must be contacted three (3) business days before beginning any project involving digging so that all utility lines - including natural gas pipelines - can be marked. This is not only for your safety; you can be held liable for damage to unmarked lines.

SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company’s gas line markers also list a 24-hour emergency number - 1-888-GAS-1-GAS (1-888-427-1427). This number should be used ONLY to report emergencies.

If you have questions about this information, contact SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company at 1-800-624-2019. For a listing of pipelines in your area, please visit the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) website at https://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/.

This website enables the user to view the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) data one county at a time. NPMS data is for reference purposes only. It should never be used as a substitute for contacting a one-call center prior to excavation activities. Please call 811 before any digging occurs. Data cannot be downloaded from the Public Viewer.

Winter Meter Safety

Winter Meter Safety 

Natural gas meters and pressure regulators are designed to withstand extreme outdoor weather conditions, but did you know that snow and ice build-up can damage them?

During the winter, here are a few ways to help protect gas meter equipment and gas appliances to avoid a potentially hazardous situation or disruption of your natural gas service:
  • Clean and repair leaky seams in your eave gutters and downspouts to prevent melting snow and ice from dripping onto the gas meter or pressure regulator, which can result in them being encased in ice when the weather turns colder.
  • To ensure their safe operation, never allow snow to cover your natural gas meter or its pressure regulator or block your appliance exhaust vents.
  • Use caution when shoveling snow, plowing, or snowblowing to avoid piling snow against your natural gas meter, pressure regulator, or appliance vents.
  • Clear a path to the meter free from snow and ice for easy access. A blocked meter can hinder access to responders in the event of an emergency.
Remove soft snow build-up gently, using only a broom or your hand, rather than a shovel that could damage the meter. Do not try to break up or remove ice or frozen snow from the natural gas meter, pressure regulator, or piping. If you find your meter or pressure regulator covered in frozen ice or snow, do not attempt to remove the ice or use de-icer. Contact SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, toll free, at 1-800-624-2019. Our technicians will take the appropriate steps to prevent an unsafe situation and rectify the problem.

Keeping You and Your Family Safe

Keeping You and Your Family Safe 

Your safety is our top concern. Please do not allow anyone into your home or give money to anyone who claims to be from the gas company without verifying that they have proper photo identification as a SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company employee.

SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company takes extensive measures to ensure that every SEMCO service technician is clearly identified. All SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company service technicians are in uniform and carry a SEMCO employee photo identification badge. Finally, all of our trucks are white with the SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company logo on the both sides.

If you are ever in doubt about whether a person is really from the gas company, please verify his or her SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company ID before allowing the person to enter your home. You can also call us toll free at 1-800-624-2019, and we will help verify whether a person is a legitimate SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company employee.