updated 2/15/2011 9:17:22 AM ET 2011-02-15T14:17:22

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 15, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The cause of the natural gas explosion that rocked a Pennsylvania neighborhood and left five people dead last week is still unclear. The investigation is currently focused on the aging cast-iron gas main that services the Allentown, Pennsylvania neighborhood.

According to a leading independent energy provider, regardless of the cause of this particular tragedy, the accident serves as an opportunity for everyone to review the importance of natural gas safety.

"This terrible tragedy in Pennsylvania illustrates just how deadly natural gas can be," says Jeffrey Mayer, President and CEO of MXenergy, one of the nation's fastest growing independent energy providers. "Natural gas provides an important and invaluable service but it is equally critical that we treat it with respect and always use the upmost care when dealing with it in any capacity."

Natural Gas Safety Tips

Use Your Nose: If you smell even the slightest odor of gas leave the area immediately and call your service provider or 911 from a remote location. Do not waste time or use anything that can cause a spark, such as a cell phone or even a garage door opener

Regular Inspections: Have all gas appliances, furnaces, chimneys, vents and gas lines regularly inspected and maintained by a certified professional

Keep Areas Clear: Keep all areas surrounding appliances and equipment unblocked to allow for clear airflow

Look for the Blue Flame: Check all pilot lights and burners for a steady blue flame. The only exception is gas fireplaces which sometimes have a yellow flame

Dig Safely: Always call your local provider before you begin digging to avoid hitting an underground pipe and causing a leak

Store Properly: Never set flammable material close to any gas appliance or equipment

Properly Maintain Your Meter: Don't allow frozen rain or ice to build up on your meter. Use a broom (never a shovel) to clear ice and snow

Signs Of Trouble

Listen: A hissing noise near a pipeline or building is cause for concern. Immediately call your local service provider

Look: Dead or distressed vegetation above a gas main is another cause for concern and should be reported

Sniff: Any hint of natural gas odor inside or outdoors is cause for immediate action. Quickly leave the area and then call your provider or 911 for help

"Safety and awareness are of critical importance," continues Mayer. "While there is no evidence of homeowner negligence in the Pennsylvania explosion, it still is a reminder to us all of the awesome power of natural gas and the necessity for constant caution and respect."

Pennsylvania investigators report no calls of problems or odor prior to the explosion and plan to send cameras through the main to look for cracks and will perform pressure tests on the service lines. 

About MXenergy

MXenergy is one of the fastest growing retail natural gas and electricity suppliers in North America, serving approximately 500,000 customers in 41 utility territories in the United States and Canada. For over 11 years, the company has provided millions of customers with a choice in how they purchase energy to run their homes and businesses. Founded in 1999 to provide natural gas and electricity to consumers in deregulated energy markets, MXenergy helps residential customers and small business owners control their energy bills by providing both fixed and variable rate plans. MXenergy is committed to best practices in environmental conservation, supporting local communities through various outreach programs and is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange. For more information MXenergy please visit www.mxenergy.com.

CONTACT: Marjorie Kass
         (203) 356-1318 ext. 7801
         Managing Director
         mkass@mxenergy.com
         
         Laurel O'Connor
         (209) 782-7212
         NorthStar Media Management LLC
         laurel@northstarmediamanagement.com

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