North Carolina Natural Gas (NCNG) employees are working to repair a ruptured gas transmission pipeline that serves the New Bern, NC area. The line, located near the intersection of Racetrack Road and State Road 1005, was struck by a construction contractor’s equipment at 3:35 p.m. Monday. No injuries were reported. Emergency personnel secured the scene of the break and evacuated 500 people in the area. Power also was cut off in the area.

NCNG stopped gas service to 160 commercial customers in an effort to stabilize the pipeline pressure. Commercial and residential customers have been asked to limit their gas use.

“We understand the reduction or interruption of gas service to our customers in the New Bern area creates a hardship, especially for those who had to evacuate their homes overnight,” said NCNG President Don Davis. “Our crews worked through the night and will continue to work until service is completely restored.”

Repair crews are attempting to bypass the line in order to fully pressurize the transmission and distribution system. On Tuesday morning, service to 300 residential customers was interrupted. The company will continue to assess the need to interrupt service as the repair efforts move forward. It estimates that the bypass will be in place by early afternoon and the damaged line repaired by late in the day.

“We are trying to minimize the number of customers we have to cut off,” said Davis. “At the same time, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure safety, as well as the reliability and stability of the gas service to the area and to essential facilities. We are working closely with city officials, law enforcement and emergency management as the situation progresses.”

NCNG provides service to 3,800 residential and commercial customers in the area. Large industrial and commercial customers were notified shortly after the break and asked to switch to alternate fuels where possible. Service to interruptible customers was stopped in advance of any residential service interruptions. Those customers agree to have their service interrupted by the company as needed, in exchange for a lower rate.

NCNG, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, provides gas and related services to more than 176,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in south-central and eastern North Carolina. The company is headquartered in Raleigh.

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