The heat should be back on, and people should be cooking with gas again in the area where a lengthy interruption of natural gas service added more chill to the coldest day of the winter so far yesterday.
Steuben County Emergency Services Director Tim Marshall said over 100 NYSEG employees in 52 crews worked through the night to prepare the system for re-pressurization, which was expected to be complete this afternoon. He explained because the work required all gas meters to be turned off in an area where there are many seasonal homes, workers had to search through the snow pile to find a valve to shut off service if they couldn't locate a meter.
A total of 580 active customers (642 meters) were impacted as a result of a loss in gas supply Monday. The cause is still under investigation.
While service is being restored, customers went to the Emergency Warming Center set up through the American Red Cross at the Hammondsport Fire Department.
Marshall said one individual spent the night at the center, but returned home Tuesday morning.
“We appreciate the patience of our customers and cooperation from emergency responders, mutual assistance utilities and the Red Cross as trained gas personnel go house-by-house to safely reconnect service” said Mike Eastman, Vice President - Gas Operations.
Customers are reminded to call NYSEG at 800-572-1121 to report gas leaks, odors or damaged gas equipment. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave the area or building and call from outdoors or a neighbor’s home. If there’s an immediate danger, call 911.
The natural gas outage came after over a foot of snow was dumped on the area over the weekend, followed by the coldest temperatures of the winter with wind chill advisories keeping many people inside on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The storm brought about a foot of snow to the area — less than what was forecast — but the expected blowing and drifting snow prompted travel advisories and cancellations, keeping most people off the roads. Although highway crews were busy, no major incidents were reported by emergency and law enforcement services in the Yates County area.