Cooler temperatures and colored leaves on trees mean that fall will soon be here, and furnaces will once again begin operating in homes and businesses across the state. Consumers Energy reminds customers to promptly report any natural gas emergencies such as gas leaks.

Knowing the three Rs of natural gas safety, or how to recognize, react and report a natural gas emergency can help keep customers safe at home and at work, said Michele Kirkland, vice president of energy operations for the utility.

“We are committed to providing safe, reliable natural gas service to our customers while protecting the health and safety of those who live or work near our pipelines and facilities. We urge our customers to learn the three Rs of natural gas safety and review it regularly with family and friends,” Kirkland said.

The three Rs of natural gas safety include:

Recognize a natural gas emergency. Signs of a natural gas leak may include a

1. “rotten egg” smell that is added because natural gas is otherwise odorless, colorless, tasteless and non-toxic

2. blowing or hissing sound

3. dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area; dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground; bubbling in wet/flooded areas; flames if a leak has ignited

React by leaving the area immediately, and then call Consumers Energy toll-free at (800) 477-5050, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from a safe location.

1. Don’t use any electrical devices, including light switches, telephones (including cell phones) or appliances like garage door openers. They could spark and ignite a gas leak

2. Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters

3. Do not try to locate the source of the gas leak

4. Do not shut off any natural gas valves or gas appliances

5. Do not start vehicles

6. Do not put out the flames if natural gas ignites. Burning gas will not explode

Report a natural gas emergency from a safe location. Call Consumers Energy immediately and trained professionals will respond to investigate at no charge. Also, call Consumers Energy if you see unusual activity near a natural gas pipeline or facility.

The utility’s residential natural gas and combination customers should look for printed three Rs information in their September Newsline bill insert, while commercial and industrial customers will receive the information via a brochure with their September bill. For more information on natural gas, visit Consumers Energy’s Natural Gas Resource Center at