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Highly Odorized Natural Gas Results in High Volume of Gas Odor Calls

17 Dec 2010

Reading, PA – UGI Penn Natural Gas is experiencing an extremely high volume of gas odor calls from customers in the area near Hunlock Creek as the result of over-odorized natural gas entering the gas distribution system. The utility is treating all reports of gas odor as an emergency and customers should immediately report any gas odors to UGI at 1-800-276-2722.

The issue resulted from the planned upgrade of a pipeline in the Hunlock Creek area. As a safety precaution, during the testing process over-odorized natural gas was used. The return of this pipeline to active service early Friday morning allowed this overodorized natural gas to enter the distribution system. The quality of the natural gas is not affected. In addition, mercaptan, the chemical used to give odorless natural gas its characteristic rotten egg smell, is harmless. However, because the odorant is so highly concentrated customers may detect it even when equipment and pipelines are operating safely and properly. Customers who are experiencing gas odors are in the areas of Edwardsville, Plymouth, Kingston, Hunlock, Pringle, Luzerne and Courtdale.

Additional personnel have been mobilized to respond to all reports of natural gas odors. Customers should always take the smell of natural gas seriously and report gas odors to UGI immediately at 1-800-276-2722. If the smell (often described as similar to rotten eggs or sulfur) is mild customers should try to ventilate the building by opening a door or window and call UGI. If the odor is strong customers should evacuate the building immediately leaving a door or window open if possible. In the case of a strong odor, call UGI from outside the building and do not turn any switches on or off. Never return to an evacuated building until someone from UGI confirms that it is safe to do so.

UGI expects that the issues associated with the over-odorized natural gas will dissipate over the next 24 hours.

UGI Penn Natural Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of UGI Utilities, Inc. UGI Penn Natural Gas serves approximately 158,000 customers in 13 counties throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania, including customers in and around Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport. Additional information about UGI’s Penn Natural Gas is available at www.ugi.com.