Natural Gas Safety
Your safety is important to MGE. That's why we add a distinctive, harmless chemical odor to the natural gas we deliver to you. This odor will help you detect gas leaks that might occur in your home, business or neighborhood.
If you smell gas
Call MGE's ALERT emergency response line:
- 252-1111 for Madison-area calls
- 1-800-245-1123 for long-distance calls
If you ever smell a strong, persistent gas odor:
- Put out all open flames.
- Don't smoke or light any matches.
- Don't touch any electrical light or appliance switches.
- Don't use your phone because it may cause a spark.
- Leave the building and call MGE from somewhere else, away from the gas odor. As you leave, open doors and windows if you can do so quickly and easily. Because natural gas is lighter than air, it rises and will dissipate rapidly, where it can escape into the open air.
- Stay away from your building until you've been told that it is safe to return.
If there's a major leak such as one caused by excavators or a vehicle damaging a gas line:
- Call MGE immediately.
- Notify the police and fire departments.
- Warn others to stay away from the area of the apparent leak.
A faint natural gas odor coming from an appliance could mean its pilot light has gone out or a burner valve has been left slightly open. It's easy to correct these problems. But if the odor is strong and hard to trace, be sure to call MGE.
Older furnaces and appliances might have manual pilot lights that can be lit again, but newer models have electronic ignitions that are powered by electrical sources.
If the pilot light is out
- Read the manufacturer's instructions so you know what type of ignition is on the furnace or appliance.
- Check the instructions and follow them exactly.
- Don't try any measures not mentioned in the owner's manual.
- If you aren't sure what to do, do not try any remedies on your own.
- Call a qualified service technician.
Before you dig
If you are planning a project that requires digging, be sure to call Diggers Hotline at least three working days before you begin. Call toll free 1-800-242-8511, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Participating municipalities and utilities can then mark the location of any underground lines on your property. Damaging a line is not only dangerous, it will also be expensive if you have not contacted Diggers Hotline ahead of time.
Avoid problems in winter
- Clear ice and snow around electric and gas meters. Even indoor gas meters are vented outside.
- Clearing the snow also helps meter readers do their jobs more accurately and efficiently.
- Keep snow cleared from your high-efficiency gas furnace vent so the furnace will operate properly.
- A blocked vent could cause a safety switch to turn off your furnace.
Emergency phone number correction
MGE's emergency phone number was incorrectly listed by Yellowbook Inc. in its 2012 printed telephone directory. Please use the following phone numbers for emergencies:
- Smell natural gas? Leave immediately and call MGE at (608) 252-1111.
- Lights out, powerline down or other emergency, call (608) 252-7111.
- Toll-free emergency, call 1-800-245-1123.
For more information
Control Natural Gas Emergencies [1.3 MB PDF]
Customer-Owned Natural Gas Pipes
Gas Pipeline Safety
Natural Gas and Electric Safety [935 kB PDF]
Natural Gas Safety: How to Protect Your Community [23 kB PDF]