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Natural Gas FAQs

Info for: ResidentialCommercialEducationCommunityContractorsEconomic Development

I smell gas. What do I do?

  • Do not turn on or off any lights, electronics, appliances, etc.
  • Do not use the telephone or a cell phone in your home
  • Be sure to put out any cigarettes or open flames
  • If inside, get outside immediately, and call us at 413-536-9335 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s home.

Are natural gas and natural gas pipelines safe?

Much like electricity, natural gas is safe when handled properly and with care. Below are some common myths about natural gas:

Natural gas is explosive: FALSE. Natural gas doesn't’t explode. It will ignite, but only when there is a source of ignition. This can occur only under two simultaneous circumstances: the gas must be present in a concentration of 5% to 15% relative to the air, and the gas must come in contact with an ignition source that is greater than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Natural gas is toxic: FALSE. Natural gas is non-toxic and cannot cause you to become sick, unless the gas is in such high concentrations that you cannot get enough oxygen to breathe.

Natural gas is heavier than air: FALSE. When natural gas escapes, it rises and dissipates harmlessly into the atmosphere. Other gases, such as propane, are heavier than air, causing them to "pool" on the ground (similar to spilled gasoline).

Natural gas stinks: FALSE. Natural gas has no odor. As a safety precaution, HG&E adds a distinctive odorant called mercaptan to the gas stream so that if natural gas escapes, it can be detected.

How do I convert to natural gas?

Contact our Gas Division at (413) 536-9404 to determine if gas is available in your area. If it is available, an application may be filled out and submitted to HG&E.

I am about to install a fence on my property. How can I be sure I do not install a fence post in to my gas service?

By calling 811 (DigSafe®). At no cost to you, the service will notify utilities of your proposed work so that they may mark the approximate locations of underground service lines. If you have a contractor doing your work, please make sure that they call 811 prior to starting.

Does HG&E install gas appliances, furnaces, etc?

No, HG&E does not perform installations. However, HG&E does have a Service Department that offers 24-hour emergency service and can repair gas boilers, gas furnaces, gas space heaters, gas unit heaters, ranges (gas and electric), hot water heaters (gas and electric), and clothes dryers (gas and electric).

Will gas appliances work when the power goes out?

Some will. Typically, with the exception of gas furnaces and gas dryers, gas appliances keep working when the electricity is off.

Why is my gas meter being changed?

  1. State law required HG&E to replace each customer’s gas meter every seven years. To minimize inconvenience, where possible, the meter may be replaced when you are not home. However, following the meter change, HG&E requires your presence to relight appliances
  2. Customers will be notified by letter when their gas meters are due to be replaced. If you decide it would be most convenient to have the work performed on a specific day or time, you may call (413) 536-9300 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to schedule an appointment. If you are not home during the meter change and need your appliance relit, please contact our 24-hr dispatch center at (413)536-9335.

I want to install a home generator. Will HG&E upgrade my meter?

Yes, for a fee, HG&E will upgrade meter sets as a result of a home generator installation. Please contact our Gas Division at (413) 536-9404 for additional information.

How do I read my meter?

Reading your meter is simple. Your home will have either a dial meter or a numeric meter. Please refer to the diagram that corresponds to your meter and follow the instructions.Gas Dial Meter

Numeric Meter Index

When the pointer on the dial is between two numbers, always record the lower number. In the illustration, the first dial on the left registers 4. The second dial registers 5, the third 4 and the forth 6. So the correct reading is 4546 hundred cubic feet (ccf). For Numeric meters simply record the numbers as shown. The correct reading for this meter type is also 4546 hundred cubic feet (ccf).

Why does HG&E want to inspect my meter every few years?

To comply with Federal safety codes, HG&E must inspect your gas meter at least once every three years.  HG&E uniformed personnel may be in your neighborhood to complete this inspection.  Please contact HG&E if you have any questions at (413) 536-9300 (press 1).
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