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Residential methane detectors—improving safety with proactive detection

With heightened awareness from recent natural gas related incidents, the industry is considering additional measures to enhance public safety including the broader use of residential methane detectors. These detectors can warn customers of increased levels of methane, and as a result immediate action can be taken such as alerting the local utility company to a potential leak. Having an early warning system in residential homes can improve safety and prevent unfortunate events from occurring due to unreported or undetected gas leaks.

Although methane detection technology has advanced in recent years and some viable systems are commercially available, their performance must be evaluated to ensure their effectiveness as well as their ability to perform to specifications for reliability and accuracy. However, lessons learned during similar technology deployment (CO detector deployment in the 1980s) have proven that availability of technology alone will not deliver the desired level of implementation, therefore we need to develop a comprehensive program that includes technology development, stakeholder engagement, and market research to drive the use of methane detectors to maximize public safety benefits and ensure widespread public and regulatory acceptance.

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