For Iowa and Minnesota customers
Vol 17, Issue 3
- Natural gas is safe for you and your family
- The importance of marking underground natural gas pipelines
- Do you know the leading cause of pipeline accidents?
- Three steps that could save your life
- How natural gas reaches your home
- How to recognize a natural gas leak and what actions you need to take
- Accessibllity to your meter helps ensure safe and reliable service
- Partnership is important to your safety
- Cogeneration notice for Minnesota customers
- How you can avoid disconnection
- Rest easy with Automatic Payment
- Your online project professional
Natural gas is safe for you and your family
Alliant Energy is dedicated to keeping our employees, customers, and communities safe by providing training and education on natural gas. Stringent safety standards govern the exploration, production, transportation, distribution, and use of natural gas.
Alliant Energy continuously seeks out new technologies in pipeline design, construction, inspections, and operations to make delivery of natural gas safe, cost-effective, and secure.
Natural gas is one of the safest fuels and pipeline accidents are relatively rare. Alliant Energy is committed to maintaining and improving our strong safety record.
The importance of marking underground natural gas pipelines
Pipeline markers are used to indicate approximate, but not exact, locations of transmission pipelines. The markers provide a toll-free number (1-800-255-4268) to report problems. Transmission line markers are typically placed at public road crossings, fence lines and street intersections. Visit the National Pipeline Mapping System to learn who operates transmission pipelines in your area.
In most cases, there are not pipeline markers for the distribution lines inside urban service territories. To identify where any type of pipeline is located call 811 before you dig.
Do you know the leading cause of pipeline accidents?
The answer is homeowners and contractors who don’t call 811 for the proper location of the pipe before they start digging or excavating, which causes damage.
Communities have many different buried utility lines, including natural gas pipelines, electrical lines, water lines, and cable and internet lines. After your buried lines have been marked, use caution when digging near any of these services.
Three steps that could save your life
- Call 811 before you dig
811 is the national phone number that initiates the process of locating and marking the underground utility lines in your yard or at your job. Call 811 at least three business days before you dig.
- Wait the required time for facilities to be marked
One Call Center personnel will notify Alliant Energy to mark the approximate locations of buried gas or electric lines with high-visibility safety paint and/or flags. There is no charge for this locating service.
- Respect the marks or flags and dig with care
When you start digging, stay at least 24 inches away from the marked lines. Hand digging with extreme caution is required when digging within the 24-inch tolerance zone.
To learn more visit call811.com or use your state contact info:
- Iowa: Iowa One Call
- Minnesota: Gopher State One Call
- Illinois: JULIE
If you hit a pipeline notify Alliant Energy. Even minor damage, such as nicks, scratches, cuts, scrapes, dents, and gouges can result in pipeline failure, electric shock, or a major incident in the future. In addition, call to have Alliant Energy inspect the pipeline before backfiling your excavation. If gas is blowing, call 911 from a safe location.
How natural gas reaches your home
Natural gas is extracted from the Earth and travels to your community through underground transmission pipelines. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the 2.5 million miles of underground pipeline in the U.S. are the safest method of transporting natural gas.
Once the natural gas reaches your community it passes through a gate station, where the pipeline pressure is reduced and the local distribution company, like Alliant Energy, distributes the natural gas to customers. The underground pipelines within your community are called “mains” and are typically buried-in or next-to streets. Service lines, approximately a half inch to one inch in diameter, connect to the main and carry the gas to homes and businesses.
When the gas passes through a customer’s gas meter, the gas then becomes property of the customer. Customers are responsible for installing and maintaining the piping that natural gas flows through to reach appliances and equipment.
To learn more about our integrity management program or other natural gas pipeline safety topics click here, or call 1-800-257-3645.
How to recognize a natural gas leak and what actions you need to take
Natural gas is colorless and odorless. Alliant Energy adds a rotten egg odorant to it, so it’s distinctive and leaks can be detected immediately. If you suspect a gas leak call Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT immediately. We will investigate a gas leak for free.
The unintentional release of gas is dangerous to you, the public, and could result in fires, explosions, injury or death. Always use extreme caution near a gas leak and recognize the possible hazards.
Signs of a natural gas leak or damaged pipeline:
- Smell: Rotten egg odor. If you don’t know the scent, contact Alliant Energy for a free scratch ‘n sniff card.
- Hear: Hissing or whistling sound near a gas appliance, meter or pipeline
- See: Blowing dirt, bubbling water or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area
What TO DO if you suspect a gas leak:
- Make sure gas appliances are turned all the way off
- Leave the area and keep others away until Alliant Energy allows you to return
- Call 1-800-ALLIANT from a remote location
- Contractors should turn-off and abandon equipment; do not attempt to move machinery.
- If you hear gas hissing or blowing, a more serious issue, call 911.
What NOT to do if you suspect a natural gas leak:
- Try to find or repair the leak
- Strike matches or create a flame/spark of any kind
- Use a telephone or cell phone (these can ignite gases or vapors)
- Turn on or off any light switches, garage door openers, or other electrical switches (these may also ignite airborne gases)
- Start an engine of any kind
- Attempt to extinguish a burning gas leak
- A qualified professional should check your gas appliances annually. Inspections keep gas appliances safe and efficient, and reduce risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Snow and ice can damage gas meters and pipes.
- Vents for gas appliances must be cleared following a major snow or ice storm to enable proper venting and prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.
- Carefully use a broom to keep gas service equipment clear during the winter.
Accessibility to your meter helps to ensure safe and reliable service
To assure safe and reliable service, your gas meter must be accessible. If you are planning to do work on your property that will affect the location or accessibility of a gas meter or service line, please call Alliant Energy to arrange for us to evaluate your plans.
In order to perform required safety inspections on our pipelines, we must have clear access to the pipeline right-of-way. The area on either side of our pipelines must be kept clear of trees, fences, buildings and other structures. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Partnership is important to your safety
We consider emergency responders and public officials our partners in prevention. We share information, participate in meetings with other pipeline companies, and work with emergency responders to understand the risks of natural gas and the best ways to prepare, prevent, and react to a pipeline emergency.
Cogeneration notice for Minnesota customers
Alliant Energy is required by state and federal law to interconnect with and buy all electric energy offered for sale by qualified small power producers and cogenerators.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has established technical requirements for the interconnections that can be made with Alliant Energy’s electrical system for this purpose. The Commission also regulates the purchase price between the utility and the qualifying producer and resolves any disputes that may occur.
For more information, call the Alliant Energy Distributed Resources Hotline at 1-800-972-5325 if you are interested in small power production or cogeneration.
How you can avoid disconnection
Overwhelmed by winter heating bills? If you’re behind on your payments, please contact us soon. Don’t wait for a disconnection notice. Your best defense against being disconnected is working with us on payment options and arrangements.
If you receive a disconnection notice, please call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-ALLIANT (1-800-255-4268) right away to discuss a payment plan and to learn about our payment options. You might be surprised at how easy it is. We are willing to work with you.
Good reasons to avoid disconnection:
- If we disconnect your service, we cannot guarantee same-day re-connection.
- If your service has been disconnected for non-payment, you will be charged an additional fee for re-connection.
For questions call 1-800-ALLIANT or visit us online.
Rest easy with Automatic Payment
No more rushing to the post office to send in your utility bill payment! With Automatic Payment your utility bill is automatically deducted from your bank account each month. It’s fast, easy and FREE. Visit us online to enroll today.
Your online project professional
Do you have a do-it-yourself project coming up? Make powerhousetv.com your first stop. Some sample DIY videos include:
- Installing a motion detector light
- Installing a dimmer switch
- How to install a clock-programmable thermostat
These same videos are also viewable on the PowerHouse YouTube channel. Be the first to know about energy-efficiency events and money-saving tips by following PowerHouse (@aepowerhouse) on Twitter and liking PowerHouse on Facebook.
For customer service, call 1-800-ALLIANT (1-800-255-4268).
For any natural gas or electrical emergency, call Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT.
Para Solicitar una version en espanol de este folleto llame at 1-800-257-3645 o visite alliantenergy.com/espanol.