Natural gas travels through a 2.3 million mile delivery system for use in homes and businesses. The safety record of this system and the natural gas utilities is outstanding – and it keeps getting better.
- Between 1987 and 2007, the amount of natural gas traveling through distribution pipelines has increased by almost 25%.
- And approximately 760,000 miles of new pipeline have been added to the system.
- Yet the number of reportable incidents on distribution pipelines per mile has decreased by 42 percent (1987-2007).
- Natural gas utilities safely and reliably deliver natural gas to nearly 70 million customers each year.
- The nation’s most critical buildings all rely on natural gas: The Pentagon, the White House and the Capitol building all use natural gas as a heating source
Prior to gas entering a home or business, it travels through hundreds, perhaps thousands, of miles of natural gas pipeline until the local natural gas utility delivers it to the customer’s meter through a service line. The service line usually is a small plastic pipeline an inch or less in diameter. This line ends at a gas meter that is connected to an inner or outer wall of a home or business. When natural gas reaches the customer’s meter, pressure is often reduced to less than 1/4 pound. One-quarter pound is less than the pressure created by a child blowing bubbles through a straw in a glass of milk.
Natural gas is naturally odorless. The distinctive “rotten egg” odor associated with natural gas is added before it reaches the customer, as a safety precaution.
After the natural gas passes through a customer’s meter, the gas becomes the property of the customer. The gas flows into the piping inside the house, which also is owned by the customer. Utilities recommend that customers have their natural gas appliances regularly inspected by a qualified contractor to ensure their safe and efficient operation. The U.S. natural gas industry spends more than $6 billion per year on safety-related programs and materials, including bill inserts, press releases, media outreach and educational materials for use in schools.
AGA and its members continue to support national efforts to improve natural gas use through development of national model codes, standards and guidelines. AGA also supports analysis of safety data to identify safety issues and effective approaches to addressing them, such as the recommendation for incentives for state governments to promote effective excavation damage prevention in their states.
AGA Contact: Christina Sames, (202) 824-7214, firstname.lastname@example.org