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.

Summer Safety Tips

As the heat rises during the sweltering summer months, so can the electricity bill. However, there is no reason to sweat as there are many simple ways to keep cool during the summer months while saving money and energy. 

 Start by preparing your home before the heat arrives. The Energy Education Council offers the following tips to help you be more energy efficient this summer:

  • Examine your insulation. If you can see the ceiling joists in your attic, you do not have enough insulation. You can lay new insulation directly on top of existing insulation. This will help keep cool air in your home and hot air out.
  • The temperature in the attic can far exceed the heat outside and warm up the rest of the house if it is not properly ventilated. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air out of the building.
  • Prepare your air conditioner unit before the heat. Shut off power to the unit, and clean it. Wash or vacuum cleanable filters and replace disposable ones. Clear leaves and other debris away from the unit, and hose off any accumulated dirt. If you are shopping for a new air conditioner, look for one with the blue Energy Star label.
  • Put a timer or programmable thermostat on your air conditioner. Leave it a few degrees higher while you are away, and set it to cool the house to the temperature you find comfortable half an hour before you return home.
  • Install awnings over windows exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Open windows and doors to let outside air cool your house on moderate days, but be sure to keep them closed when you are operating the air conditioner.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips in and out of the house. Heat and humidity come in each time the door gets opened.
  • Keep the sun out of your house. Close blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day.
  • Consider planting fast-growing trees and shrubs in close enough proximity your home to provide shade. Remember to also plant them a safe distance from power lines and to call 811 to have utility lines marked before starting any digging.
  • Set lamps, TVs, and other heat-producing devices away from the air conditioner thermostat. Heat from these devices could cause the thermostat to read higher temperature and keep the air conditioner running more than necessary.
  • Seal cracks around the house with weather stripping and caulking.
  • Clean off ceiling fans, and make sure they are circulating air in the correct direction for the season. During warm months, ceiling fans should operate in a counter-clockwise direction. Also, utilize portable fans. These fans create a cooling effect at less cost than air conditioning.

 For more information about energy efficiency and safety, visit EnergyEdCouncil.org.

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