TECO Peoples Gas – Ft. Myers line break – Sunday, 6 p.m. update
Working into Saturday night, Peoples Gas crews and additional personnel continued taking steps to restore customers throughout the Ft. Myers and Naples area. Crews visited more than 85% percent of the commercial and residential customers, including restoring service to approximately 1,000 customers affected by the loss of natural gas service after a major line break Thursday afternoon. This represents significant progress in safely restoring gas to customers’ businesses and homes, and prepares those customers for the remaining steps of the restoration sequence.
In order to assist in restoration efforts, the company is encouraging customers to have someone available at their home or business to allow crews to enter and take the necessary steps to begin the restoration process. If customers are not present, a door hanger will be left behind asking them to call. Crews will be working throughout all affected areas today, with a strong focus in the Ft. Myers area from Gladiolis Blvd. south to Williams Rd. on both sides of Interstate 75, and in the Naples area of Collier County south of Vanderbilt Beach Rd. to Rattlesnake Hammock Rd.
It is very important that someone be present to allow crews to enter the home or business to restore service.
The need to restore gas in the Ft. Myers and Naples area comes after a heavy-equipment operator damaged an eight-inch natural gas line, causing a major break in the southwest Florida system. The break resulted in a loss of natural gas service to about 6,000 residential and 1,200 commercial customers in Lee and Collier counties. The line was repaired Thursday night and the restoration process began Friday morning.
Safety is Peoples Gas’ No. 1 priority while we work to restore service to our customers as quickly as possible. Peoples Gas asks that customers help keep themselves and the crews restoring service safe by not modifying their gas appliances or Peoples Gas equipment.
While restoring gas over the weekend, Peoples Gas crews discovered dangerous conditions, such as a gas line that was disconnected from a meter and reconnected to a propane tank. That is unsafe for customers, neighbors and our crews.
In an effort to restore customers as quickly as possible, more than 200 additional support workers are in the Ft. Myers and Naples areas to help restore service. Crews will work throughout the weekend and into the week. Based on our experience with incidents of this type, total restoration could take up to a week.
Natural gas outages of this magnitude are uncommon, so customers might be unfamiliar with the labor-intensive process required to restore service for them. Unlike electricity, which can be restored to thousands of customers by repairing a single power line, natural gas requires several steps to safely restore service to thousands of customers, including having restoration personnel visit each customer’s premise to safely turn on the gas and re-light pilots.
This is the process, which can be seen in this diagram: repair the main line break, turn off lateral gas lines, restore gas to the main line, turn off individual customer’s meters, restore gas to lateral lines and, finally, turn on gas and restore service to each customer.
Here are details of three key steps in the restoration sequence:
• First, each customer’s gas service is shut off and locked down (physically turned off and locked) by a representative of Peoples Gas as a safety precaution and as required by federal and state regulations.
• Then, gas mains will be re-pressurized to the appropriate level and inspected.
• Next, Peoples Gas crews will visit each customer premise and ensure natural gas service is restored, pilot lights are re-lit and safety checks are completed by a representative of Peoples Gas. Peoples Gas is working to restore all customers as quickly as possible.
Customers should not turn off their gas supply at the main meter. Only emergency personnel or utility personnel should turn the valve on or off. A customer may turn off the gas for individual appliances at the appliance valve near each unit but it is not necessary.
Peoples Gas is committed to keeping customers updated, so stay tuned to peoplesgas.com for the latest available information.