Stay Safe with These Tips

Natural Gas Safety

Mt. Carmel Public Utility Co. located at 316 Market Street, in compliance with federal code RP 1162 Public Awareness Program, would like to inform you that a high-pressure gas line could be located in the vicinity of your residence or business.   This gas line is for the purpose of supplying natural gas in a safe and reliable manner.

All gas mains, service lines, and meter installations are leak surveyed at least within a three year period to help discover any potential gas leak hazards.   Corrosion control is applied to coated steel pipe, and tested at one year intervals.

Natural gas is lighter than air and has no odor. To help you detect the presence of natural gas, a strong odorant, a mercaptan mixture that smells like sulfur or “rotten eggs”, is added so that you can smell a leak immediately.   Everyone in your family should learn to recognize this smell.

If you smell a faint odor near an appliance:

Make sure all the pilot lights are lit. If you find a pilot light extinguished, open the windows and doors to vent the area and wait 15 minutes before relighting the pilot light.   If the odor persists, call MCPU anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7), at (618)262-5151 (toll free at 1-877-262-7036). Investigating gas odor complaints is a free service of MCPU.

If you smell gas inside your home or business and the smell is a strong, persistent natural gas odor, or you hear a hissing or leaking sound you should:

1. Immediately leave the building (home or office), taking everyone with you (including pets), and leave all doors and windows open behind you.

2. Call from a nearby telephone at a safe distance by dialing (618) 262-5151 or 1-877-262-7036.  

3. Do not re-enter the building until MCPU officials have inspected and declared the area safe.

In these conditions:

DO NOT use matches, lighters, electrical switches, any appliances, telephones, cellular phones, computers, elevators or garage door openers.

DO NOT touch electrical outlets, switches or doorbells

DO NOT smoke, use a lighter, match or other open flame.


Remember that any gas piping downstream of the gas meter is customer owned, and is the responsibility of the customer to maintain this portion of the natural gas line.   Customer owned gas lines should be checked regularly by a qualified plumbing or heating professional for leaks and signs of corrosion.   Any unsafe conditions should be repaired immediately, if found.

Before you excavate, Illinois law requires that you call J.U.L.I.E. toll free at 811 or 1-800-892-0123, 24/7.   It’s a free service to locate and mark underground utilities including water, electric, telephone, cable TV, natural gas lines, and other facilities.   MCPU does not locate customer owned natural gas, or customer owned electric underground lines.   Examples of customer owned lines might include yard lights, gas grills, and swimming pool heaters.

For your safety, never use your gas oven or range to heat your home.   Space heaters are designed to add warmth but should not be a main source of heating.   Remember to turn these appliances off before you go to bed or leave your home.

Know your gas meter location and exercise care when shoveling, plowing, mowing, or snow blowing in the area around the gas meter installation.   If for any reason you need your gas shut off to your residence or business call MCPU and we will be happy to assist you.

For additional natural gas information or gas emergency please call (618) 262-5151 or toll free 1-877-262-7036.

Fall Safety Tips

Autumn is a busy and beautiful time of year. Following are some safety tips to think about as you make sure your home is safe and ready for the coming winter season.

  • During cold weather, your furnace will likely be running and your windows will be closed. Installing a carbon monoxide detector near your home’s bedrooms will help you detect this deadly gas if it were to build up in your home.
  • Inspect your chimney to make sure it is unobstructed. Because many furnaces vent into the chimney, it must be free of debris to allow products of combustion to vent to the outside atmosphere. If you will be burning wood in a fireplace, have the chimney inspected to make sure it is in good condition and free of creosote buildup.
  • Make sure the area around your furnace is clear for good air circulation. Keep all flammable materials, such as clothing, cardboard boxes, paint thinners, fuels and solvents, a safe distance from the furnace.
  • Be cautious with portable heaters or space heaters, making sure to follow manufacturer instructions for safe venting and use. Never leave them operating when you are away from the room or asleep. Don't leave children or pets unattended with space heaters, and never use them to dry clothing, shoes or mittens.
  • When cleaning gutters, installing storm windows, or harvesting fall crops, avoid overhead power lines. Before you work, look up from your work area to inspect for overhead power lines. Then make sure to stay clear of electrical lines when working with ladders, pruning poles, tractors, grain augers, equipment with antennas, etc. Call the utility company if you need to have your service temporarily disconnected while you work near the electrical lines. It’s free and it’s the best way to be safe.
  • Anytime you plan to dig, whether as part of a construction job or homeowner project (such as putting up a fence or basketball hoop, planting trees or shrubs, installing a pool, building a home addition, deck, etc.) Illinois law requires you to call J.U.L.I.E. (1-800-892-0123) before you dig. You can also visit the J.U.L.I.E website here. It’s smart. It’s free. And it’s the law.
  • As days grow short, make sure outdoor lighting is in good working order. Good lighting can not only protect you against falls and accidents, but also from crime. Inspect fixtures and outlets for weather damage and replace burnt-out bulbs.

General Safety Information

These are some additional safety resources for utility customers.

American Gas Association
J.U.L.I.E. - to Electronlically report prior to digging: www.illinois1call.com
SafeElectricity.org