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Although you can’t see natural gas, it’s all around you, maybe in your home, maybe running through pipes in your backyard.

It’s hard to beat natural gas for clean, efficient, economical energy. But, as with all forms of fuel, it’s important for you to become familiar with its safe use so you can enjoy those benefits to their full extent.

We do our part, of course, by routinely inspecting our gas facilities, and maintaining them in peak working order. In the event of a natural gas emergency, you can count on us to implement our emergency plan to keep the area safe.

For more information about excess gas flow valves, click here.

Things to consider when outdoors

The leading cause of serious pipeline incidents, including those causing deaths and injuries, is outside force damage to pipelines. In most cases, these incidents are entirely preventable.

Calling before you dig is the first rule to remember when conducting underground related activities – no matter what the job is. The law requires you to phone the “One-Call” center at 8-1-1 at least two business days (excluding holidays) prior to conducting any form of digging activity.


One other thing to consider when working outdoors – is the area around your gas meter. It is important that this area stays free of obstructions at all times.

At any time, if you smell or hear gas, take these precautions

Because natural gas is lighter than air, it becomes combustible when mixed with air and exposed to an ignition source. That’s why we add an odorant that stinks! The smell is intended to make you aware that something isn’t right. If you smell it:
  • Don’t smoke, light matches, turn your electrical switches on or off, use the telephone or do anything else that might create a spark.
  • Evacuate everyone in your home or building, and stay out until someone from NorthWestern Energy tells you it is safe to return.
  • Keep others away from the area.
  • Call 911 and NorthWestern Energy at (800) 245-6977 in SD/NE, (888) 467-2669 in MT from a neighbor’s phone.

To learn more about Natural Gas Pipeline Safety, click here. 

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