Tag Archives: gas line

David Vs. Goliath: The Gas Meter Revisited

DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS: An old house. Extensive flooding. One family. A behemoth-sized utility company. What do all these things have in common? A house elevation project. What originally began as a Stalin-esque shake down from conEdison, our utility company, making us question if we had somehow woken up in a post WWII Eastern Bloc country, has rounded the bend dramatically this week. Once told we would have to pay huge sums of money and be forced to endure months of waiting to have a new gas line and a new gas meter installed (with only conEdison permitted to complete the work), has now been (hopefully) resolved. Huge sigh of relief.

UNTANGLING A MISUNDERSTANDING: Initially, conEdison had mistakenly understood that WE were requesting for our gas line and gas meter to be moved for frivolous reasons, prompting them to take a strong-arm approach to our project.* Only after making daily calls to conEdison, that all seemed to lead to a murky quagmire, did we resort to contacting those much higher up in the organization. Although the CEO did not take our call, those not far below him did. Subsequently,  our project was quickly repositioned as “flood recovery” and as such is being handled quite differently.

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We now hope to have the new gas line and gas meter installed as early as next week, not seven months from now as originally told.  It has already been approved by their engineering department and will no longer require any permits.

USE CAUTION: Let this serve as a cautionary tale to anyone pursing an elevation project for flood mitigation. When talking to the utility company be certain to use the correct terminology. Always talk in terms of “flood recovery” and NEVER use the word new, e.g., “I’m calling about a new gas meter.” The word “New” trips the wire of taking your project down a much darker path of time delays, costly installations and cases of Pepto Bismal.

For better or worse, the homeowner MUST handle this conversation. Architects, builders, plumbers, etc., seem terrified of the big, bad utility company and what it could mean to other projects in the future. They have a relationship to protect.

UP NEXT: Will conEdison show up next week as told? Will our gas be turned back on then or require yet another chain of phone calls? Stay tuned …

*additional information available in previous posts

Feel the Burn: Gas Lines & Meters

GAS METER UPDATE: In a previous post I lamented about the excruciatingly long process to have a new gas meter and a new gas line installed. Con Edison, our local utility company, first visited our site  on August 20, 2013. At that time, we were under the impression that getting new service was the only option we had; it was the required protocol during a home elevation project on an older home with a gas line made of steel.

BURN, BABY, BURN: We had been repeatedly warned that we were at the mercy of this massive utility conglomerate and that they were reputed to move at a snail’s pace. So when we received a follow-up letter in less than a week, we were surprised with the speed of the deed. Maybe we would be the exception and not the rule. But, alas, that was a naive pipe dream. The letter informed us of a projected completion date of (insert drum roll here):  March 30, 2014. That’s right, 7 MONTHS from now. As I mentioned previously, moving back into our house is contingent on this task being completed.

WE HEAR YOU: It was with great resolve that I next contacted the utility company, outlining my argument for why I believed this time frame was unjust. Our project was a retrofit for flood mitigation, an action encouraged by the utility company, not a new service. Plus our three children are impacted by this decision, which tends to help a homeowner jump the line a bit. They saw my point and empathized with my plight stating that they would try their best to move our project along. After several days of persistent calling, with mixed results and responses from whomever I spoke to that day, we were told that it would “likely work out”, but they could make no promises. Maybe it’s me, but those words did little to mollify my concerns.

ARE WE STILL IN AMERICA? By the end of the month and many phone calls later – the squeaky wheel gets the grease when you’re talking about a company with millions of customers – we had some promising news. Our project had moved from the engineering department over to the construction department, a feat that usually takes 30 days. To officially get in the queue of their construction line-up, we just had to make a payment –  of several thousand dollars – that did NOT  include the digging of a trench.

To be continued …

Gas meter in question

Gas meter in question