Xcel Energy Tips of the Trade
Don’t Rely on Your Nose Alone!
811 Know what's below. Call before you dig.

To reach your state’s underground utility service/one–call center,
call 811 or visit their
online site

The required “business day” (excludes weekends and holidays) wait time for each state is as follows:

Colorado: 3 days
Michigan: 3 days
Minnesota: 2 days
New Mexico: 2 days
North Dakota: 2 days
South Dakota: 2 days
Texas: 2 days
Wisconsin: 3 days

In Case of Emergency, Call 911 and Xcel Energy:

• Electric Emergencies:
• Natural Gas
• Colorado (PSCo) only:
   Gas Transmission
   Pipeline Emergencies:




Natural Gas Leaks Don’t Always Have an Odor
Xcel Energy adds an odorant, mercaptan, to natural gas that gives it its distinctive smell; many describe it as similar to sulfur or rotten eggs, but it may smell differently to you. However, sometimes this odor is not apparent. This may occur when a person has smelled the odor for too long, when the odor is masked by other smells, or if the odor is stripped from the gas through physical or chemical processes.

Look and Listen for Gas Leaks
Be alert for obvious gas leak sources, such as a damaged connection to a gas appliance, a pipeline that has been compromised during excavation activities, or a pipeline exposed by an earthquake, flood, or landslide. Use your senses of sight and hearing (not just your nose) to detect these common natural gas leak warning signs:


  • Dirt spraying or blowing into the air;
  • Continual bubbling in water;
  • Grass or plants dead or dying for no apparent reason.


  • A hissing, whistling, or roaring sound.

If You Suspect a Gas Leak…
Warn others and evacuate the area. Do not use matches, cell phones, radios, lighters, or anything else that could create a spark and ignite the gas. Leave the excavation open; do not operate pipeline valves or bury the line. From a safe location, call 911, call Xcel Energy at 800–895–2999, and report the leak to your supervisor. (For PSCo gas transmission pipeline emergencies, call 800–698–7811, the number on PSCo pipeline markers.) Stay away from the area until safety officials say it is safe to return.

Would You Like to Know More?
Additional underground utility guidelines, case studies, instructional videos, and training tools can all be found, at no charge to you, on Xcel Energy’s e-SMARTworkers website.

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