ST. PAUL (AP) -- With all the snow that's fallen on Minnesota so far this season, a state agency is urging residents to check their outdoor gas meters to make sure they're free of ice and snow buildup.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Pipeline Safety says accumulated ice and snow can block the regulator vent.

The office says the vent must be unobstructed to work properly.

If the vent is sealed, the gas regulator won't work. That could either cause gas leaks inside your home or a lack of gas flow, resulting in frozen pipes and no heat.

Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl says snow should be gently brushed off the meter assembly - not shoveled. If the meter has ice on it, Rosendahl advises calling your energy company.

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