Police, gas utility workers entering RI homes to shut off gas (why?)

Page 1 of 4  
Ok, here's what I don't get:
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.
=================================================== http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/south_county/natural-gas-issue-affecting-1600-homes
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.
"It’s going to be devastating to be without heat or power for this holiday season. It’s 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.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Home Guy wrote:

One of the comments:
============Oh wait nevermind. It's AIR in lines from a contractor hitting a main and air got in, which can cause problems. They are purging the lines. Its a safety issue and now its explained. THANKS CHANNEL TEN! for the informative reporting! ============= Still not clear why they have to enter each house when the gas supply shut-off valve is likely on the outside at the meter.
Having to come around to each house and *go inside* as part of turning the gas *back on* is something that I think is standard proceedure for a gas utility (even if it doesn't make much sense).
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Home Guy wrote:

>http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/south_county/natural-gas-issue-affecting-1600-homes
Many areas in RI are old city construction from the time when gas meters located in basements was the norm.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My gasmeter is in my basement. Reading is a huge pain in the ,,,,, because I'm not in favor of the guy traipsing into my house. So I tell him the reading.
--
Best regards
Han
email address is invalid
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

in this city. I use a minimum of heating oil. I supplement with a small electric, heater in my bedroom when needed and for the living space it seems to stay ok for me. I do a bit of cooking, with gas, and it heats up areas pretty nicely. I installed my heater in the basement years ago, maybe 30 or so, a Weil-McLain and it is still doing a good job at less than 1 gal per hour. I think the most I have used in a real cold year was about 6,000 bucks. So far this year about 200 bucks. I have thought of going with a new modern gas heater but my 21 year old daughter will have the house someday, I will be 70 this next year and I hope she will not have to do too much to maintain this big and wonderful old row home. Hopefully I can be around for a long time yet.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

It may be doing a good job of heating, but it is sucking down a lot of oil to do so. 30 years ago, they were just not as efficient.
Less than a gallon an hour may seem good, but my use over the past year averages out to 1.28 gallons per DAY. That is heating 2000 sq. ft., laundry, showers, etc.

Your heater is probably 60% to 70% efficient. A new gas condensing unit will be about 95% efficient.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A big question here is the 6,000 bucks. Is that a typo or real? It's so large that it must be a typo. So, we don't know how much oil he uses in an average season. That would determine the payback time of a new boiler.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Good point. I use gas, so even though I buy diesel hadn't really factored in that heating oil is $3+ a gallon now. So, $6,000 sounds possible. And if that's right, then the payback on a new boiler would be real fast. With any old boiler of that vintage any significant oil bills, doing it last year when there was the 30% fed tax credit made sense.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/22/2011 10:15 PM, Han wrote:

Most of the gas services in two nearby cities have inside meters. New installs get outside meters. The utility fitted the meter registers with transponders so they now only need to see them once/year.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

+1...
Many of the older homes and buildings have meters inside...
As major remodels occur they might be moved outside if the property owner wants to pay to have it moved, but people in RI are notorious for being very cheap...
This is the first such occurrence where homes have had to be entered in such a large area -- perhaps this event might inspire changes in the building codes requiring the meters to be located outside...
~~ Evan
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Evan wrote:

But they don't have shut-off valves *on the outside* ???
Normally, a utility (any utility) likes to have outside access to a shut-off mechanism so they don't have to enter the premises (or deal with the owner) to shut off the utility in cases of non-payment, etc.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There are curbside street valves, but they are their own nightmare.
This RI thing is weird.... never heard of anything like that. Gas interruptions, while not an everyday occurrence, do happen, and I never heard of anything like this. I don't see why "air in the line" is different from any other interruption/restoration, that doesn't seem to require this type of invasion.
I think this is a harbinger.
Semi-related, in my neck of the woods (Yonkers, NY), they have installed RFID meters, which can be read remotely, sposedly even by satellite. Goodgawd, the very notion makes my fillings hurt....
--
EA




Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
e meters inside...

If the problem is air in the lines, wouldn't they have to pretty much bleed not only the mains but also get air out of all pipes inside the house?
--
People thought cybersex was a safe alternative,
until patients started presenting with sexually
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/23/2011 6:11 AM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

Exactly, just like they needed to do when the first time they turned your service on.
And if you were responsible for the safe use of the flammable gas you provided would you have your workers just open the valve and hop back into the truck and go onto to work elsewhere after you made a major repair or would you verify that each connected device was functioning properly?
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Nope, no outside access, some of the older street taps off the main line don't even have shut-offs -- so entire streets would have to be shut down where the street mains branch off from the larger mains feeding from the gas compressor plants...
LOL, they would do the same thing they are doing in the emergency, go in with a sheriff or police officer to cut the service off, with a locksmith if need be...
~~ Evan
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/22/2011 10:20 PM, Evan wrote:

But the gas utility is responsible for everything up to and including the meter. It is a non trivial deal to replace everything and in addition the residents add more to the cost.
The utility that supplies NG here is going block by block doing upgrades. They need to dig up the street and also either trench or tunnel to each premise and obviously get inside access to remove the old meter and redo the piping. A relative who works for a contractor that does that work says it is guaranteed a number of homeowners will pile on with lawsuits and demands for repairs of imaginary damage.
Same deal with CATV. There is a "elite" development that borders a country club/golf course near here. The buried cabling will not support the new services and when the company started trying to replace it they were hit with claims of damage to zillion dollar landscaping so the cable company abandoned the update and those folks don't get the services the cable company runs on the higher frequencies that have high attentuation on the old infrastructure.

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<stuff snipped>

That's why the most dangerous curves of the Capital Beltway are in the richest neighborhoods. The residents of those areas had the money to file suit after suit challenging the "straight thru" and best right-of-way. Eventually the state (or the cable company or whover) gives up.
There's a whole different, less deadly set of curves near the Mormon Temple in Kensington that are dedicated to the environmentalists that demanded changes in the right of way so as not to disturb the various creeks that flow across the right-of-way. IIRC, Sligo and Rock Creek were the number one and two concerns.
AFAIK, the Mormons had nothing to do with the alignment, although they set their temple at the head of one of the existing bends so that you can see it for miles and miles away. It's really quite a breathtaking site, as anyone who's traveled that section of I-95/495 can attest to. Sadly, the gawking seems to produce a higher than normal number of accidents in that stretch of road but I don't think anyone has the stats to prove why. The area is still mostly parkland and the Temple is the only tall structure visible. That's quite a feat in this heavily developed metro area. One downside for them is that with its gold leaf covered spiretops and statue of the Prophet Moroni, is that it attracts lightning like nobody's business. They have to regild the lightning damage several times a year because even with an impressive arrestor system, the air-to-metal transfer points burn, melt and vaporize depending on the power of the bolt.
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Except for the tens of thousands of homes that have the gas meter on the inside, usually in the basement.
In the three houses I lived in Philadelphia, the gas line came in from underground and the meter hung on the front wall of the basement. The meter readers used to come once a month and knock on door to come read the meters.
I image these houses have similar setups.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Agree. The video in the link clearly said they were entering SOME of the affected homes, not all. I would think those are the homes with the meter and shutoff inside.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/22/2011 10:29 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Same in the two nearby cities near here. The only change they made was to add transponders for remote meter reading.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.