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Natural gas service disrupted for about 3,700 customers

By early Tuesday afternoon, there were only between 200 and 300 Centerpoint Energy customers in Hastings were still without natural gas service.

The quick response to restore service to its customers followed a pressure-related problem, which disrupted natural gas service to about 3,700 customers shortly after noon Sunday, May 30, about half of the total number of Centerpoint Energy customers in the Hastings area.

According to Centerpoint Energy media specialist Rebecca Virden, the disruption in service was primarily on the city's east side although several businesses in the midtown area were also affected.

"There are two main lines that serve the city," Virden said. "Each has a pressure regulator, which indicates when the pressure is too high or low."

There is a shut-off valve for safety protection. The line was quickly repaired, but it meant servicing each customer line.

The individual shut-off valves were turned off (disconnected) and had to be reconnected by Centerpoint Energy technicians, who quickly responded, Virden said. Many were in Hastings by early Sunday evening.

"We had 70 technicians called in, who went to each home for a quality check," Virden said. "It was very important that customers not try to connect their own valves. Only technicians have the equipment to ensure proper air pressure."

Plus, it was a holiday weekend, so Centerpoint Energy had staff on call for those who returned Monday night and learned they were without gas service. Technicians were working until midnight.

In the area impacted, technicians went door-to door to provide service. For those customers not reached, yellow service tags, with instructions, were left on doors.

"They were on this pretty quickly,' Virden said. "This is an extremely rare occurrence - but it is a quality issue, not a safety issue.

"We had the cooperation of the team, the technicians and the customers," she said.

For those who are still experiencing a disruption of natural gas service, or if they smell gas at any time, they can call 612-333-6466 for assistance.