1) It's not clear from this story why the gas company thinks there's a problem somewhere.
2) I don't know how they do things in RI, but around here our gas meters are outside, and there's a small lock-able valve in the gas line entering the meter. This is so that the utility can shut the gas supply off to a premises and LOCK the valve closed with a pad-lock. So there would be no need to have to enter the premises like they're doing here in Westerly RI.
Natural gas issue affecting 1,600 homes Crews will begin to turn gas back on tonight
Updated: Thursday, 22 Dec 2011, 9:06 PM EST
WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI/AP) - National Grid says crews are going to door-to-door in Westerly to close off the natural gas meters of 1,600 customers as it works on a distribution problem.
Utility spokesman David Graves says crews worked through the night and had secured about 800 meters by about 7 a.m., and the company will start restoring service Thursday night, with the problem solved by Saturday.
Main Street and Canal Street are among the areas affected. Not only are those streets filled with homeowners, but businesses are also impacted by the issue.
"Its going to be devastating to be without heat or power for this holiday season. Its our crunch, time," said Molly Silva, a business owner.
If no one is home at the time, police officers along with a locksmith are entering homes to shut the valves off.
"Thank God no snow, no frost, no freezing temperatures yet. We just hope for the best. Hopefully we can get some things going for Christmas. I have a meal to prepare, hopefully we are good to go by then," said Westerly resident Mallory Carpenter.
After National Grid has checked each affected home, and the problem has been resolved, they will return to each home and business to turn the meters back on.
Officials said this is not an easy fix, and expect the process at least a day or so. Right now, no homes are in danger.
Graves says more crews are expected today from around Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
National Grid is asking that anyone in that area who does not have natural gas, to please call 1-800-640-1595.
Emergency shelter available for affected families
Due to the natural gas service interruption in parts of Westerly, the Westerly Police Department and the American Red Cross will be opening an emergency overnight shelter at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
The Shelter, at the Westerly Senior Center, 39 State Street, will provide a meal and overnight accommodations for those families affected by the gas service interruption.