Providing Gas to Consumers
Distribution is the last step in delivering natural gas to customers. Some large industrial, commercial, and electric generation customers receive natural gas directly from high capacity interstate and intrastate pipelines (usually contracted through natural gas marketing companies). However, other users receive natural gas from their local gas utility, also called a local distribution company.
Typically, distribution occurs through smaller pipelines at lower pressures and across shorter distances than the main transmission segment.
Local distribution companies, like the larger interstate and intrastate pipelines, maintain the highest safety standards to ensure that preventable accidents are avoided, and problems with the distribution network are remedied in a timely fashion.
Safety measures include:
- Leak Detection Equipment - Utilities have in place sophisticated leak detection equipment, designed to pick up on leaks of natural gas from the distribution network.
- Safety Education Programs - Utilities typically run natural gas safety seminars in schools, community centers, and through other organizations to ensure customers are well versed in natural gas safety procedures and know what to do in the event of a leak or emergency.
- Technicians on Call - Utilities maintain fleets of technicians on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to customers' problems and concerns.
- Emergency Preparedness - Utilities participate in community and local emergency preparedness programs, educating and preparing for emergency events such as natural disasters.
- One Call Systems - Provides customers, contractors, and excavators with a single phone number to call before commencing excavation or construction, to ensure that the pipelines, and other buried facilities are not damaged.