Stephanie Helton, a Gas marketing analyst, was on vacation in Ludington when she saw a set up she knew wasn’t right: a telephone box resting on top of a customer’s DTE Gas equipment, and wires wrapped around the fuel line. In addition to putting added weight on the equipment, the box blocked access to the shut off valve—a critical tool for cutting off a gas leak in a case of an emergency. ​​​​​​​

Stephanie quickly reported the issue to the Gas operations team, which sent a field technician to instruct the customer on corrective actions they needed to take. In doing so, Stephanie demonstrated accountability for her safety and the safety of those around her, even while on vacation.  

While it may seem obvious that gas meters shouldn’t be used as shelves, our field technicians see the blunder more often than they would like.  

“At DTE, we are committed to installing and maintaining a safe and reliable gas infrastructure, and we do all that we can to protect our customers from potential hazards,” said Bryan Valrance, manager, Coolidge Service Center. “Our customers also play an important role in taking care of equipment over time to prevent new hazards from occurring. We encourage employees and residents alike to contact us to report any hazardous situations or safety concerns.” 

​​​​There are five major areas of concern as it relates to common meter safety issues:

  1. Obstructions resulting in lack of access to shut off valve or meter
    1. Bushes and landscaping
  2. Items placed or hung on the manifold
    1. Hoses and cables
    2. Pets and bikes tied to the manifold
    3. Toys
  3. Unsecure manifolds
    1. Pulled off the wall
    2. Laid on the ground
  4. Line of fire
    1. Ice falling off roof that risks landing on the meter
  5. Outside force
    1. In most cases, due to vehicular traffic. As necessary, we install cement posts to protect our equipment from a crash

If you see an obstructed meter or one being used for anything other than its intended purpose, call the gas leak tip line at 800.947.5000 and let them know you would like to report a potentially hazardous situation. As always, if you smell or suspect a natural gas leak, follow these three steps: 

  • Leave the area immediately 

  • Go to an outside location where you can no longer smell natural gas 

  • Call 9-1-1, then our dedicated natural gas leak hotline at 800.947.5000