September 20, 2005
A move Tuesday in Columbia County could make gas meters all over the state safer. In a News 12 follow-up: the South Carolina Public Service Commission met Tuesday to consider tightening safety rules on a specific kind of gas meter.
This comes after News 12 aired a story about a North Augusta woman’s home that blew up and caught fire after her meter froze last January. The gas meter needed a vent skirt or splash guard to prevent it from happening.
After News 12 brought it to the attention of the Office of Regulatory Staff, they studied the problem and found there are more than 108,000 of these meters in use and that about a quarter of them could freeze over.
This past week they recommended that meters either be moved to prevent more icing over, or that splash guards be installed.
Dukes Scott of the Office of Regulatory Staff says they can only make the recommendation to the PSC. The PSC is the regulating agency for gas meter safety. However, Mr. Scott says his office is not through with the issue.
“Our office will continue to monitor this situation to see if any action is being taken, and in the winter we’ll spot check on our own to see if there are any further dangers,” Scott said.
The splash guards, which cost about $5, are sometimes called Vent Skirts. Some South Carolina gas operators have already purchased them and have already begun installing them.