UGI Utilities has an around-the-clock team ready to respond to any customer complaint about a potential leak.

Company spokesman Joe Swope said UGI received a few calls of concern from customers following the Sept. 13 gas explosions that killed one person and destroyed numerous homes in Massachusetts.

Some reports say the disaster may have been caused by an issue with the supplier, Columbia Gas, having over-pressurized gas valves, but Swope points out that it's still undetermined.

To ensure safety, UGI regularly surveys its equipment which includes 12,000 miles of gas pipes in Pennsylvania. 

Scheduled surveys to determine if there are any leaks within the pipes are done and the gas control system is monitored 24 hours a day by employees in 30 offices located around the state, Swope said.

"If there is a pressure anomaly, our gas control group can identify it," he said.

UGI is now reconstructing underground gas lines in Sunbury which has disrupted traffic throughout the city.  The company is replacing cast iron or bare steel pipes with high-density plastic pipes in the main lines and service lines into homes and businesses.

Sunbury councilman and director of streets Chris Reis said the city issued the necessary permits to the company but has no oversight on the project beyond making sure the roads are restored when the work is done.

UGI "is held to state standards" regarding the gas line replacements which are taking place on several streets, he said. The Fourth Street project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month with the other streets to follow and repaving to take place next year.

Swope said customers, including the 5,800 in Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties, are encouraged to call 911 or UGI whenever they believe they smell a gas leak.

The scent of rotten eggs is a clue. Since natural gas is odorless and colorless, UGI adds mercaptan, a nontoxic chemical that emits an offensive smell, into the gas to alert anyone to a leak.

There is no cost to a consumer who calls to report a potential leak and receives a UGI response, Swope said.

"We respond 24 hours a day," he said. "We would much rather (respond to) a call."

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