We Are Committed to Safety

Safety is one of our core values and an integral part of our mission at NorthWestern Energy. We do not sacrifice safety for any reason.

Safety

Safety Resources

At NorthWestern Energy, the safety of our employees and our customers is the highest priority. It is ingrained in our culture and is part of everything we do. Safety is more than action or behavior, it is a mindset that should be embedded so deeply that it simply comes naturally.

Make sure to keep your gas meter clear of snow and ice.

snow piled on a natural gas meter. An example of what your meter shouldn't look like.

Make sure to keep your gas meter clear of snow and ice.

After every snow, be sure to clean and clear your natural gas meter and the associated piping. Allowing snow and ice to build up on your natural gas meter, or fall from the roof above your meter, can lead to dangerous damages.

Clear snow gently using your hands or a broom. Never use a shovel. Also be sure to clear a path to your gas and electric meters.

Safety Education

Education Materials

We believe you're never too young – or too old – to learn how energy works and its importance in our everyday life. We provide free classroom materials and lesson plans on energy safety for grades kindergarten through 8th.

Public Safety Awareness

Our Safety Professionals are available to make presentations, including presentations to school groups, first responder trainings, general public safety awareness and more.

Book a Louie or Sniffy Public Appearance

Want Louie the Lightning Bug or Sniffy the Sniffasaurus to visit your next event? They love to get out in the community and meet their fans!

Call before you dig

Always call 811 or visit Call811.com at least two business days before any digging project. No project is too small.

Safety FAQ's

The maintenance of buried gas piping downstream of the gas meter to gas-fired appliances or other structures on the property is the responsibility of the home/property owner or current occupant.

NorthWestern Energy is required to inform customers with privately owned natural gas or propane service lines of their responsibility to inspect and maintain their piping (Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR 192.16). Customers should have the pipes periodically inspected for leaks, and metallic pipes should also be inspected for corrosion by qualified professionals, such as your local plumber. Any unsafe conditions should be repaired immediately, or the flow of gas should be shut off.

Visit Natural Gas Safety to learn more.

Call 911, if you notice any of these signs of a pipeline leak:
• An unusual blowing or hissing sound coming from the ground.
• Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground.
• Bubbling ponds.
• Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area near a pipeline right of way.
• A fire close to a buried pipeline.

Visit Natural Gas Safety to learn more.

NorthWestern Energy makes it easy for you to detect natural gas leaks by adding an unpleasant rotten egg or skunk-like smell to natural gas. If you smell this odor:

  1. Get away. Leave the area immediately.
  2. Don't create a spark. Do not use phones, matches, light switches or anything else that could trigger the ignition of the gas.
  3. When at a safe distance, call 911.

Visit Natural Gas Safety to learn more.

There is no way to visibly check. You most likely already have an EFV installed if:

  • Your home/building was built since June 2008
  • Your gas service line was replaced since June 2008
An EFV is intended to reduce the flow of gas if the service line is severed. The EFV is placed in the service line where it leaves the gas main. An EFV will reduce the flow of gas only if the service line is severely damaged. It is important to note that an EFV will not protect you from a leak or broken line inside your home, or a small leak on the line in your yard. An example of when the valve provides protection is in the event the gas service is damaged from digging or extreme ground movement.

Check that the equipment is:

  • Free of obvious signs of tempering or openings 

  • Locked with no signs of damage to enclosure

  • Sitting solidly and squarely on the concrete pad

  • Free of oil leaks

  • Free of major or structural rust (rust covers less than 1% of the surface)

  • Free of large blistered or unpainted areas

  • Free of visible structural defects

  • Not hidden in overgrown vegetation

Transformers and switches for underground electrical systems are sometimes installed above ground, bolted to a concrete pad and covered with a padlocked metal box (kiosk) to allow for easier installation and maintenance access. Pad-mounted equipment is safe to clean, wrap, or paint unless it has been damaged willfully, by accident, or by an act of nature. Broken, displaced, leaking, or vandalized equipment may not be safe or may need repair work.

Outages occur for many reasons. Here are the most common causes of unplanned outages:

  • System equipment, such as service lines, underground conductor, transformers and insulators.
  • Birds and squirrels.
  • Debris on the pole or in the line.
  • Weather, such as snow, thunderstorms or extreme temperatures.

Check fuses or circuit breakers to rule out problems with electricity inside your home. If there’s not an issue with your fuses or breakers, report the outage to NorthWestern Energy. You can report outages online or by calling:

  • 888-467-2669 in Montana or
  • 800-245-6977 in South Dakota/Nebraska
You can find up-to-date outage information on our online outage map and on our Facebook page.

 

Learn more 

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Our Commitment to Sustainability

Our employees are our most important asset. That's why safety is ingrained in our culture and is part of everything we do. In 2022, we devoted $1.6 million to safety education and awareness. That's just one of our ESG initiatives.