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Avista reminds customers to report natural gas smells

An occasional area odor that resembles natural gas has prompted numerous customer calls to Avista about possible gas leaks that turned out to be false alarms. Subsequent inspections show that area pipelines are operating safely and efficiently; however, Avista encourages residents to continue to report natural gas odors.

Avista holds the safety of our customers as paramount. Crews respond to every report of suspected gas leaks, and the company has an emergency plan in place in the event of a major emergency. Additionally, Avista continuously monitors and maintains our gas facilities to ensure safety.


In October Avista received more than 20 customer complaints of a suspected natural gas odor in the vicinity of northeast Klamath Falls. The odor also triggered the evacuation of Ponderosa Junior High School.


While the source of the odor has not been identified as natural gas, Avista, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, local emergency responders and others in the area are working together to try to identify the source and eliminate the problem. In the meantime, Avista wants customers to continue to take precautions if they think they smell natural gas.


Colorless, odorless and lighter than air, natural gas becomes combustible when mixed with air and exposed to an ignition source. An odorant called Mercaptan that smells like rotten eggs is added to natural gas to help alert customers to possible leaks.


“It’s important to call Avista any time you think you smell natural gas, even if you’re not sure or you have previously reported a gas odor,” Jeff Daniels, Avista Construction Manager for Klamath Falls said. “We would rather have people err on the side of safety and report a smell, than not report a potentially dangerous situation.”          


Customers should follow these safety measures if they think they smell or hear natural gas, either inside or outside their home or business:

  • Don’t smoke, light matches, turn electrical switches on or off, use the telephone or do anything else that might create a spark.
  • Open windows and outside doors, if possible.
  • Evacuate the building, and stay out until someone from Avista tells you it is safe to return.
  • Keep others away from the area.
  • Call 911, and then Avista at (800) 227-9187, from a neighbor’s phone. 

For more information about natural gas and natural gas safety, visit the Avista Utilities Web site at www.avistautilities.com, or call (800) 227-9187.


Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is our operating division that provides service to 352,000 electric and 310,000 natural gas customers in three Western states. Avista’s primary, non-regulated subsidiary is Advantage IQ. Our stock is traded under the ticker symbol “AVA.” For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.


Avista Corp. and the Avista Corp. logo are trademarks of Avista Corporation.



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