Natural gas customers still without service

Some Piedmont Natural Gas customers in southwest Charlotte are still without service today after a key valve was inadvertently turned off last week, affecting about 7,000 customers.

Correcting the problem is not as easy as simply turning the gas back on. Piedmont has to visit each home and business to check for leaks and potential problems with pilot lights and other equipment, said Loree Elswick, the utility's manager of corporate communications.

About 500 customers who lost service can't be reached or haven't called into the company, she said. “We restored natural gas service to everyone that we've heard from. We're urging them to call us. If they call today, we'll reconnect them today.”

Piedmont suspects a valve was inadvertently left in the closed or off position during routine seasonal maintenance. Elswick said the company was investigating how to prevent such an error in the future.

The area affected is in southwest Charlotte, from South Tryon Street at Interstate 485 south to Lake Wylie.

In warm weather, service interruptions mainly affect water heating and the operation of some appliances, such as gas stoves. Customers who are still without service can call 1-800-752-7504.