Nicor Gas restoring 90% of customers in Wilmette and Evanston after water main break

Nicor Gas crews are in the final phase of restoring natural gas service to about 90% the 1,200 customers who had their service interrupted Friday as a result of the water main break in Wilmette.

NAPERVILLE, Ill., Jan. 13, 2003 -- Nicor Gas crews are knocking on customers' doors this morning to begin the final phase of restoring natural gas service to about 90% the 1,200 customers who had their service interrupted Friday as a result of the water main break in Wilmette.

Nicor Gas workers will be out in force throughout the day Monday relighting pilot lights and gas appliances and conducting safety inspections to get the heat back on.

"The water's no longer got control over us, we've got control over the water," said Rocco D'Alessandro, senior vice president of operations for Nicor Gas. "Our operations crews now need the help of our customers. We need someone at home so we can get their heat back on as soon as possible. If a customer cannot be at the house, we ask them to please call us right away so we can finish the job of restoring their service." Customers should call 1-888-NICOR4U (1-888-642-6748.)

Nicor Gas personnel working through the third straight night were able to clear the remaining water from gas pipelines that service the primarily residential areas south of Central Street in Evanston on either side of the Metra/Union Pacific North Line railroad tracks. At 6 a.m. today, following testing and safety inspections, Nicor Gas operations crews got the green light to begin calling on the vast majority of customer homes to restore service.

About 100 customers in the two communities are not yet ready for service restoration. Nicor continues to implement multiple solutions in those areas, including installing new pipelines in case the existing lines cannot be cleared.

About 30% of customers have actually had their heat restored as of 8 a.m today. The affected area includes single and multi-family homes as well as businesses. Crews are giving priority to residential neighborhoods.

The restoration of service will consist of Nicor Gas crews going inside the home to relight pilot lights and gas appliances. All Nicor Gas employees carry proper identification and customers are urged to check identification as a security precaution.

Nicor Gas on Monday commended the tremendous cooperation of its customers, the Wilmette and Evanston police and fire departments, and local government officials who opened warming centers and provided many services to assist Nicor Gas crews and customers throughout the weekend.

Work will continue on a 24-hour basis until all service is restored.

D'Alessandro concluded with a special thank you to customers. "We had many instances of customers coming outside in the cold weather to bring coffee and snacks to our workers. They demonstrated a lot of patience and a positive spirit. It's been a team effort and we're grateful to everyone, from our workers who pulled eight to 12-hour shifts out in the cold to the local officials and especially to our customers for their support."

Nicor Gas is one of the nation's largest gas distribution companies. Owned by Nicor, Inc. (NYSE: GAS - News) a holding company, Nicor Gas has provided safe, reliable natural gas services for more than 45 years. The Company serves two million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit the Nicor Web site at www.nicor.com.

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