For Wisconsin customers
Vol. 18, Issue 3
- Natural gas is safe for your and your family
- Three steps that could save your life
- How natural gas reaches your home
- Partnership is important to your safety
- Recognizing a natural gas leak and knowing what to do
- You play a role in safe and reliable service
- Do we have your phone number?
- Do you know the leading cause of pipeline accidents?
- The importance of marking underground natural gas pipelines
- Behind on you your utilty bill? Contact us.
- Manage your account remotely
- Annual statement of the low income public benefits fund program
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.
Three steps that could save your life
1. Call 811 before you dig
8-1-1 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 8-1-1 at least three business days before you dig.
2. 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.
3. Respect the marks or flags and dig with care
When you start digging, stay at least 18 inches away from the marked lines. Hand digging with extreme caution is required when digging within the 18-inch tolerance zone.
Notify Alliant Energy if your digging equipment or tools contact our underground pipelines or electrical lines. 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 if not properly assessed. If you hear blowing gas, a more serious problem, call 9-1-1 immediately, from a safe location.
To learn more visit 811.com or use your state’s One Call Center contact info:
Diggers Hotline 1-800-242-8511 diggershotline.com
JULIE 1-800-892-0123 illinois1call.com
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 pipelines 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 one-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, call 1-800-257-3645 or visit alliantenergy.com/pipelinesafety.
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.
Recognizing a natural gas leak and knowing what to do
Natural gas is colorless and odorless. Alliant Energy adds an odorant to give gas its distinctive rotten egg odor so you can smell a leak. If you suspect a gas leak call Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268) 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 the odor of rotten eggs. If you don’t know the scent, contact Alliant Energy for a free scratch and sniff card
- Hear hissing or whistling sounds 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
- Turn off and abandon machinery
- Leave the area and keep others away until Alliant Energy allows you to return
- Call 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268) from a remote location
- If you hear blowing gas, a more serious issue, call 9-1-1
What NOT TO DO if you suspect a gas leak
- Do not try to find or repair the leak
- Do not attempt to move appliances or machinery
- Do not strike matches or create a flame/spark of any kind
- Do not use a telephone or cell phone (these can ignite gases or vapors)
- Do not turn on or turn off any light switches, use garage door openers, or electrical switches (these may also ignite airborne gases)
- Do not 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.
- Use a broom to keep gas service equipment clear during the winter. Kicking or using a shovel could damage the equipment.
You play a role in safe and reliable service
To assure safe and reliable service, pipelines and gas meters 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). This area must be kept clear of trees, fences, buildings and other structures. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Do we have your phone number?
For safety reasons it’s important for Alliant Energy to have your current phone number on file, so we can notify you of any planned outage events or emergency repairs that require us to temporarily shut off your gas or electric service. Call us at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268) to update your phone number. We do not sell or provide your contact information to anyone.
Do you know the leading cause of pipeline accidents?
The answer – homeowners and contractors who don’t call 8-1-1 for the proper location of the pipe before they start digging or excavating. 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.
The importance of marking underground natural gas pipelines
Pipeline markers are used to indicate approximate locations of buried pipelines. The markers provide a toll-free number (1-800-255-4268) to report problems. Markers are typically placed at public road crossings, fence lines and street intersections
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 8-1-1 before you dig.
Visit the National Pipeline Mapping System to learn who operates transmission pipelines in your area.
Para solicitar una version en español de este folleto, llame at 1-800-257-3645 o visite alliantenergy.com/español.
To obtain additional information on pipeline safety visit alliantenergy.com/pipelinesafety or call 1-800-257-3645.
Behind on your utility bill? Contact us.
If you’re behind on payments, you can make arrangements now. We know that no one intends to get behind on their utility bill. We’re here to help you get caught up, maintain your good credit and avoid the stress of a potential disconnection. You can:
- Apply for help. Income eligible customers can apply for Energy Assistance by calling 1-866-432-8947 or by visiting homeenergyplus.wi.gov.
- Contact us. If you’re behind on your energy bill, call us now to set up a payment arrangement. If you’re caught up on your utility bill, here are some ways you can manage costs:
- Reduce your energy bill. Anyone can take steps to reduce their energy bill. Turn off lights, dial down the thermostat and look into upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances. Assistance is available by calling Focus on Energy at 1-800-762-7077 or visiting focusonenergy.com.
- Do some homework before you move. If you’re planning a move, it’s a great idea to contact the utility beforehand to find out what the average energy usage has been at a particular address. A little homework can help you select a location with energy costs you can manage.
Manage your account remotely
If you’re away this spring, you can manage your account remotely. When you sign up for My Account, you can review and pay your bill online from anywhere.
Annual statement of the low income public benefits fund program
Your electric bill includes a monthly fee for the Public Benefits Fund, which was established to help reduce energy use in Wisconsin. This fee appeared on your electric bill as a “low income assistance fee.” During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, Alliant Energy provided a total of $14,816,972 from residential and non-residential customers in support of Public Benefits programs.
Home Energy Plus programs helped families and individuals with limited incomes throughout the State of Wisconsin. Managed by the Department of Administration, the programs were delivered to eligible households through county human and social services agencies, community action agencies, tribal governments and other nonprofit organizations. The ultimate goal of all low-income energy programs was to make the households energy self-sufficient; that is, to provide services that help households meet their energy costs on an ongoing basis without sacrificing other necessities.
Assistance with electric bills
Electric Assistance is a one-time benefit payment made during the heating season (October 1 through May 15) to eligible households and is intended to pay a portion of a household’s electric costs. The amount of the benefit is dependent on the household income, household size, and electric costs incurred by the household. In most cases, the benefit payment is paid directly to the household energy supplier.
Crisis assistance was available to eligible state residents who were subject to a disconnection of their utility service, or who were nearly out of heating fuel and did not have any way to pay for the fuel or fuel bill. Crisis Assistance provided both emergency services and proactive services. Emergency services helped during the heating season by purchasing heating fuel for a household, making payments toward an electric bill, providing a warm place for a customer to stay for a few days, providing furnace repair/replacement or taking other actions that helped in a heating emergency.
Weatherization services helped reduce home energy costs by reducing home energy consumption. This made homes more comfortable – warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The reduction in consumption reduced the customer costs and also reduced overall consumption, which benefited all customers. Common weatherization services included attic and side-wall insulation, reducing air leakage into and out of the home, heating system repair or replacement, refrigerator and freezer replacement, energy efficient light bulbs and water saving measures.
Are you eligible for energy assistance? To find out, call 1-866-HEATWIS (866-432-8947) or visit homeenergyplus.wi.gov.
For customer service, call 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).