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Stay safe this winter. Gently clear outdoor utility equipment of snow and ice. Image shows a woman with a broom clearing snow from a fire hydrant, gas meter and exhaust vent.

With the winter season upon us, Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro are providing some important safety reminders about your gas, water and electrical services.

If you have a concern about your services,
please call our 24-hour line at 613-546-1181.

Keep gas meters clear: Although your outdoor gas meter is designed to withstand winter weather, heavy or hard-packed snow and ice can be a safety hazard. Keep snow and ice from building up on and covering both your gas and electric meters – and avoid piling snow under the meters or electrical wires. Take care when using a snow blower or plow near your meter and never kick or hit the gas meter or its piping to break away built-up snow or ice. Get more information.

Make hydrants visible: Residents and snow removal companies are reminded not to shovel or blow snow onto hydrants. We thank citizens who take the time to clear snow and ice from fire hydrants, providing access to fire fighters in case of emergency.

Did you know? There are 3,500 hydrants in the municipal water distribution system. After a heavy snow fall, we inspect hydrants and then make them accessible for fire protection. Inspectors divide the area into 16 ‘hydrant beats’ of approximately 200 hydrants each. They visually inspect hydrants, and clear them of snow and ice as needed. We prioritize hydrants adjacent to critical services such as hospitals, schools and long-term care facilities.

Prevent water from freezing around electrical lines: Please keep your eaves troughs free of debris so water runs safely away before it freezes. Ice can build up where overhead electrical service wires attach to your home—a dangerous and costly situation. Consider that the root of the problem may be poor attic insulation.

Never attempt to clear ice from or around electrical service wires yourself. 
If you have a concern about your services, please call our 24-hour line at 613-546-1181.

Prevent snow and ice build-up around your electric meters: Keep snow from piling up against your electricity meter or under electrical service wires. Consider building shelter over top of meters to prevent water from dripping and freezing onto meters. Get more storm safety information from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA).

Keep outside exhaust vents (such as for gas-fired furnaces and water heaters) cleared of snow or ice.

Natural gas safety: natural gas has been used safely for many years. Utilities Kingston has provided safe and reliable gas services since 1847, when it was originally founded as the Kingston Gas and Light Company.

Modern gas appliances and accessories are certified to high standards, while contractors who install natural gas appliances must receive special training and licensing.

Even so, you should know what to do if you suspect a gas leak and how to protect your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Report gas smells or “hissing”:   If you suspect a gas leak and are inside, leave the premises immediately. Do not do anything that could create a spark (i.e., don’t use cell phones, switches or lighters). If you are outside, clear the area and do not use lighters or start vehicles. Call 613-546-1181, ext. 2151 when you are safe.

Install and obey carbon monoxide (CO) alarms:  CO is an invisible, odourless gas that can kill you in high concentrations. If your CO alarm goes off, immediately evacuate all occupants (pets, too!) and call 911. Ontario Fire Code requires all homes (whether single family, semi, or other) with fuel burning appliances (including fireplaces) and/or attached garages, to be equipped with CO alarms. These alarms should be located outside of all sleeping areas.

Know what to do in the event of a winter storm: Severe weather can cause power outages and downed power lines, as well as put your basement at risk of flooding. Residents are reminded:

  • Kingston is served by three power providers. Know who provides your electricity in Kingston, so you can make the right call in case of a power outage or electrical emergency.  Utilities Kingston’s electricity customers are in Central Kingston, Barriefield and CFB Kingston, and can report issues to 613-546-1181, 24 hours per day. 
  • Outside of these areas, contact Hydro One at 1-888-664-9376. (A small number of east-end residents are served by Eastern Ontario Power.)
  • Learn what precautions to take on our page on power outages.
  • Do not use a propane barbeque, camp stove or portable standby generator indoors. They can generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Your carbon monoxide detector may not work in a power outage.

Downed power lines: Freezing rain can cause downed power lines or tree branches to fall on power lines. Stay safe: 

  • If you see a downed power line or tree branch that has fallen on a power line, always assume it still has electricity flowing through it, even if it isn’t sparking.
  • Stay back at least 10 metres or 33 feet (that’s about the length of a school bus) and don’t touch anything metal (such as guard rails) in the area.
  • Report it immediately by calling 911 or our emergency line at 613-546-1181. This line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Prevent problems with frozen plumbing: Our online resource helps explain the risk factors for freezing pipes and explains steps that building owners can take to help prevent this from occurring. As well, we explain the processes and responsibilities involved if your water service does freeze. Review Frozen Water Services

Keep snow and ice away from your meters
Avoid these problems with utility equipment!