In case of a life-threatening emergency, dial 911.
What to do if you smell natural gas
Leave the area immediately.
Don't create a spark
Do not use phones, matches, light switches or anything else that could trigger the ignition of the gas.
When at a safe distance, call 911.
Make sure to keep your gas meter clear of snow and ice.
Gas meters have a vent that regulates pressure. If snow piles up and covers the vent, it won’t work properly. This could lead to a service interruption or even a gas leak, which could cause a fire or explosion.
After every snow, be sure to clear off your gas meter gently using your hands or a broom. Never use a shovel.
Also be sure all appliance exhaust vents are clear from blowing and drifting snow. Blocked appliance vents could result in a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide.
How to clear your natural gas meter?
Walk around your house and make sure your electric and gas meter are clear of snow and ice. Shovel a path to your meter. This allows us to access it in an emergency situation.
Use a soft broom or a gloved hand to remove snow and ice from your meters. Never use a shovel, pick or flame.
Be sure the regulator on your gas meter is clear of snow and ice. Check to make sure other vents are clear.
Keep gas meters clear of snow
Keep gas meters clear of snow
After a storm, it's important to make sure your natural gas meter is clear of snow and ice so the flow of natural gas into the home can be regulated properly. Also, be sure to shovel a path to your meter.
Call 911, if you notice any of these signs of a pipeline leak:
An unusual blowing or hissing sound coming from the ground.
Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground.
Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area near a pipeline right of way.
A fire close to a buried pipeline.
Pipeline Purpose and Reliability
Pipelines are the safest way to transport energy products, including natural gas, crude oil and other fuels. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regulates pipelines with the help of state partners. According to government and industry statistics, the most common cause of pipeline incidents is improper or unauthorized digging near a pipeline, which is why it’s important to call 811 before you dig. Pipeline operators carefully build, maintain and monitor the integrity and security of their lines.
Excess Gas Flow Valve Notice
If a gas service is installed to your home, you have the option to purchase an Excess Flow Valve (EFV) to be installed by NorthWestern Energy. An EFV is intended to stop the flow of gas if the service line is severed. The EFV Valve is placed in the service line where it leaves the gas main.
An EFV will stop the flow of gas only if the service line is severely damaged. It is important to note that an EFV will not protect you from a leak or broken line inside your home, or a small leak on the line in your yard. An example of when the valve provides protection is in the event the gas service is damaged from digging or extreme ground movement.
As required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), we are notifying you that an EFV that meets the minimum prescribed DOT performance standards, is available for installation on your natural gas service line.
The cost of installing the EFV will need to be evaluated by an engineer. If you are interested, please contact your local NorthWestern office to set up an appointment. Payment is required prior to installation of the EFV.
NorthWestern Energy & the Canada Montana Pipeline Company
Markers show the approximate location of pipelines and identify the companies that operate them. The pipeline may not follow a straight course between markers. Pipeline operators must place markers, sometimes called right-of-way markers, at public road crossings, and railroad crossings. These markers indicate the pipeline content, the name of the pipeline operator and the operator’s emergency phone number. Please note that even if the pipeline is marked, you must contact 811 for utility line locates before digging near the marker.
Excess Gas Flow Valve FAQs
How much does an Excess Flow Valve (EFV) cost?
The cost of installing the EFV will need to be evaluated by an engineer.
If you are interested, please contact your local NorthWestern Energy construction office to set up an appointment. This payment is required prior to installation of the EFV.
How do I know if I have an Excess Flow Valve (EFV)?
There is no way to visibly check. You most likely already have an EFV installed if:
Your home/building was built since June 2008
Your gas service line was replaced since June 2008
What is an Excess Flow Valve (EFV)?
An EFV is intended to stop the flow of gas if the service line is severed. The EFV is placed in the service line where it leaves the gas main. An EFV will stop the flow of gas only if the service line is severely damaged. It is important to note that an EFV will not protect you from a leak or broken line inside your home, or a small leak on the line in your yard. An example of when the valve provides protection is in the event the gas service is damaged from digging or extreme ground movement.