PITTSFIELD -- UIL Holdings Corporation, the parent company of The Berkshire Gas Co., is asking customers to keep their gas meters, sidewall vents and similar equipment clear of snow and ice from this weekend's massive snowstorm.

Snow and ice accumulation may interfere with the operation of natural gas meters and regulators, or may slow access in case of an emergency.

In addition, snow that blocks sidewall vents -- found on the sides of many new homes -- may cause them to either malfunction or prevent them from properly expelling exhaust fumes, which could cause an unpleasant odor inside the home or even lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Customers are also asked to be careful while using metal shovels, plows or snow blowers around sidewall vents, natural gas meters and other equipment. Customers are advised to clear these areas with a broom to avoid damaging them.

"After a heavy snowfall like this, it's important the check the area when the gas meter and sidewall are located," said Robert Allessio, UIL's vice president for gas operations. "If you smell and unusual odor in your home, that may be the cause."

If a natural gas meter of sidewall vent becomes caked in ice or begins to make an unusual noise, customers should call their natural gas utility.



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