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AVANGRID Offers Safety Tips for Extreme Cold Weather

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Dec 272018
 

Weather Advisory Issued to Customers of United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas and Berkshire Gas

AVANGRID (NYSE: AGR), a diversified U.S. energy company, and its subsidiaries in Connecticut and Massachusetts are urging customers to take measures to stay safe and warm during the bitterly cold weather that’s forecast for New England.

“The risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and other hazards can increase as residents try to stay warm during the extreme cold,” said Bob Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks, the parent company of United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas and Berkshire Gas.

“As this extremely cold weather settles in, we encourage customers to look around their homes and make sure they’re able to keep themselves and their families warm and to identify any potential safety risks that must be addressed,” Kump said.

Staying Warm

If you are unable to keep your home safely and comfortably heated, call Infoline at 211 for resources that can help you and your family.

Exposure to extreme cold can cause serious medical conditions including hypothermia and frostbite. To avoid them, stay indoors if possible and wear warm clothing, including head covering and gloves or mittens.

For information about frostbite, hypothermia, and other concerns, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Incidences of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning rise during cold weather, as a result of malfunctioning appliances, poor ventilation and improper use of heat sources. Place smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to make sure the batteries are working, and replace the batteries at least twice a year.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless toxic gas. It is a product of fuel combustion, and a buildup can result from a furnace or space heater problem. Symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic flu, so make sure the CO detector is functioning.

For more information about fire and carbon monoxide dangers, visit the National Fire Protection Association, http://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/News-and-media/Press-Room/News-releases/2016/Winter-weather-months-prompt-heating-and-carbon-monoxide-safety-warnings.

Stove and Range

The stove, range, and other kitchen appliances are designed for cooking, not heating. Use them as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition to creating a fire hazard, a natural gas stove or oven can present a carbon-monoxide risk when used for heating.

Space Heaters

Use only space heaters that have been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and never use a device designed for outdoor use indoors. Place the space heater on a level surface away from foot traffic, at least 3 feet from combustible materials. Inspect the cord for fraying, and after plugging it in, periodically feel the cord near the outlet to make sure the plastic is not getting hot. Do not run the space heater cord under a rug or carpeting, and never use an extension cord for a space heater. Keep children and pets away, and turn off the space heater when you leave the area.

More space heater safety information can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy website, at https://energy.gov/energysaver/portable-heaters.

Heating, Hot Water, and Plumbing

Keep the furnace area clear of flammable materials and keep vents clear to provide a good air supply to your heating system to ensure proper combustion.

Water pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures may freeze and burst. Don’t ignore drips or odd noises from your heating system — call your heating company to investigate. Wrap exposed pipes in your basement with pipe insulation to help them retain heat and avoid freezing.

The American Red Cross offers additional tips for avoiding frozen pipes at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes.

Blocked Vents, Meters and Regulators Can Pose Safety Hazards

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Jan 042018
 

AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) and its natural gas companies in Connecticut and Massachusetts remind customers to keep exhaust vents, gas meters and regulators clear of snow and ice as they clean up after winter storms.

Snow, ice, and other debris can block exhaust vents for furnaces, water heaters and similar appliances, potentially causing toxic fumes and poisonous carbon monoxide to build up indoors. Furthermore, snow and ice accumulated around natural gas meters and regulators can prevent gas company personnel and first-responders from locating and accessing them during an emergency.

Customers should note the location of outdoor vents, including sidewall vents, as well as meters and regulators, and make sure they remain clear and accessible. After the storm has safely passed, snow or debris should be removed gently by hand or with a broom to avoid damage. Customers should also be alert to potential ice build-up on rooftops and gutters. Falling ice and snow can damage utility meters and regulators.

“We want customers to stay comfortable and safe all winter. Taking the simple, but important step of keeping gas equipment free of snow and ice can help prevent serious safety hazards, and ensure that emergency responders have the access they need,” said Robert Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks, the parent company of Berkshire Gas of Massachusetts, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas.

Here are some additional safety tips:

Report Emergencies

Call your natural gas company to report gas leaks, odors or damaged gas equipment. If you suspect a leak, leave the area or building and call from outdoors or a neighbor’s home. If there’s an immediate danger, call 911.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located on every level of your home, outside all sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least twice a year.

Appliances

Never use your stove or oven to stay warm. Only space heaters intended for indoor use should be operated indoors or in enclosed spaces, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are unable to keep your home safely and comfortably heated, call 211 for resources that can help you and your family.

Home Generators

Any generator that plugs into a home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when the generator is in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generator, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public. If adding a natural gas-fired generator, consult your gas company to ensure there is adequate pressure. Generators should be placed outdoors and away from doors and windows to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.