Puget Sound Energy mails out stinky bills as gas leak reminder

August 30, 2011

By Staff

The utility bills reaching more than 1.5 million Puget Sound Energy customers now through September stink.

Inside each envelope is a scratch-and-sniff pamphlet to help customers recognize the rotten-egg odor used to help identify and report natural gas leaks.

Scratch and the pamphlet releases a sulfurous aroma, similar to eggs gone bad. PSE and other natural gas utilities add the scent, or odorant, mercaptan to colorless and odorless natural gas.

“We distribute this pamphlet to our customers and others in the region to make sure both natural gas users and the general public are familiar with the odor so they can recognize it and safely report if they suspect a natural gas leak around their homes or elsewhere,” Martha Monfried, PSE director of corporate communications, said in a statement.

Residents can detect natural gas leaks in other ways.

“Smell isn’t the only way to detect a natural gas leak,” Monfried said. “A hissing sound, blowing dirt or bubbles in a puddle may also indicate a possible natural gas leak.”

Bellevue-based PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 750,000 natural gas customers throughout Western Washington, including Issaquah.

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