PSE delivering bad smells this month

It’s a trip to the mailbox that could have heads turning.

It’s a trip to the mailbox that could have heads turning.

Billing statements from Puget Sound Energy arriving at more than 1.5 million homes and businesses now through October include a scratch and sniff pamphlet to remind customers of the smell that’s used to help identify natural gas leaks.

A scratch on the insert releases a distinctive, sulfur-like aroma similar to rotten eggs. To help detect gas leaks more easily, PSE and other natural gas utilities add an odorant called mercaptan to the natural gas, which is naturally odorless and colorless. Everyone in a family needs to recognize the odor, and know what to do if they smell it.

Here’s what to do:

• If a natural gas odor is detected inside or outside a house or building, or if a leak is suspected, everyone should get out immediately.

• Do not switch any lights or appliances on or off.

• Do not use cell or landline phones.

• Do not use anything that might create a spark or has a flame, such a lighting a match or a cigarette.

• When far away from the area, call 911, or PSE’s 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-225-5773. PSE’s natural gas technicians will respond immediately from our service centers at no charge to check out a problem.

• A hissing sound, blowing dirt or bubbles in a puddle may also indicate a possible natural gas leak.

In addition to delivering a “rotten egg smell,” the pamphlet also reminds customers to call 811 to have underground utility lines located before having any work done to prevent injuries and damage.