Train your nose: Piedmont Natural Gas shares how to recognize a natural gas leak

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  • As part of National Fire Prevention Week, Piedmont Natural Gas reminds communities if they smell gas, get out fast!

  • An odorant called mercaptan is injected into natural gas, giving it a distinctive smell so it is easy to detect, to help keep customers and communities safe

  • Video here: Learn how mercaptan works

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 8-14), Piedmont Natural Gas is highlighting the importance of natural gas safety and reminding everyone that if you or someone you know smells natural gas, get out fast!

National Fire Prevention Week is an annual observance aimed at educating the public on simple but significant steps individuals can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires. As part of this campaign, Piedmont is sharing how to recognize a natural gas leak and how to react if one is suspected.

Train your nose: Smell rotten eggs? Could be natural gas

Natural gas by itself has no smell. An odorant called mercaptan is injected into natural gas, giving it the distinctive smell of rotten eggs. The odor makes natural gas easy to detect and can alert the public of a natural gas leak to help avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

“Training your nose to identify the rotten-egg odor of mercaptan is the best way to detect a natural gas leak,” said Sasha Weintraub, senior vice president and president of Piedmont Natural Gas. “Our technicians respond immediately to investigate potential leaks, so knowing the warning signs is the best defense to help keep our customers and communities safe.”

Look and listen for leaks 

In addition to having a distinct smell, natural gas leaks are often visual, causing bubbling water, blowing dirt or dead plants. You also may see sinkholes or exposed pipe. It’s also possible to hear a hissing sound near a natural gas line or meter. 

Steps to take if you suspect a leak

If a natural gas odor is detected, follow these steps:

  • Leave the area immediately.
  • Call Piedmont at 800.752.7504 or call 911 from a neighbor’s house or somewhere away from the smell of natural gas.
  • Do not return to the location of the leak until a Piedmont technician or emergency responder informs you that the area is safe.

An extra layer of natural gas safety

Installing a natural gas detector is an additional safety measure to keep residents aware of potential leaks. A natural gas detector will sound an alarm if levels of natural gas in the area indicate a leak.

If the alarm is triggered, stop what you are doing, get as far away from the smell as possible and call 911, or call Piedmont at 800.752.7504

For additional information about natural gas safety, visit the Piedmont Natural Gas website

Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, distributes natural gas to more than 1.1 million residential, commercial, industrial and power generation customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Piedmont Natural Gas earned the No. 1 spot in customer satisfaction with residential natural gas service in the South among large utilities, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, and has been named by Cogent Reports as one of the most trusted utility brands in the U.S. More information: Follow Piedmont Natural Gas: Twitter, Facebook.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,600 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear. 

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2023 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

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