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

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<stuff snipped>

In suburban Maryland, near Annapolis/Naval Academy they were putting both meters inside new homes as late as 1974. My mom hated it as she should. There's been more than one serial killer that's posed as a meter man.
Law enforcement agents have also posed at meter readers to gain entrance to plant bugs, etc. I don't recall where I read it but the FBI field offices in most major cities have fake taxis, utilility trucks, mail trucks and other assorted vehicles they use for surveillance and other covert operations. Yep, the bottom line is "put the meter outside if you're worried about entry."
Now that various utilities hire lowest-bid contractors to do work in people's homes, there's probably more reason than ever before to be concerned about who comes in. Are they casing the joint? One cable jockey in this area was arrested for asking to use the homeowner's bathroom and then rifling quickly through their medicine cabinets looking for pain pills. My wife absolutely hated to be home alone with some of the goons sent out by the various utilities, especially by one cable company I won't name but that sorta rhymes with dumb-assed.
Most were nice and competent but more than one creeped her out. I'm pretty sure that being able to do a lot of our own plumbing, electrical and general repair work was a factor in her deciding to marry me, aside from my stunning good looks. (-: I often remind her when I fix something of its street value although when I do, she reminds me at bedtime of the street value of her services and tells me "that leaves you owing $400 if you want to get lucky." (-;
-- Bobby G.
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Your meter's on the outside, therefore EVERYBODY's meter is on the outside, huh?
Not necessarily. I've been in a lot of houses where the meters are inside. Both water and gas.

It only doesn't make sense when you close your mind off to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you don't know it all.
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Your meter's on the outside, therefore EVERYBODY's meter is on the outside, huh?
Not necessarily. I've been in a lot of houses where the meters are inside. Both water and gas.

It only doesn't make sense when you close your mind off to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you don't know it all. ======================================================== Only relatively new construction has meters on the outside. Pre-1960 (give or take), virtually ALL meters are inside, which means in some neighborhoods, 95% of meters.
As I mentioned elsewhere, one partial solution to the reading cost of inside meters is to RFID them, which has been done by me.
--
EA




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My house is metered on the inside with a master shutoff just between the meter and the gas entry point. Unlike water, there is no valve in front of the house.
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On 12/22/2011 9:35 PM, Home Guy wrote:

You can't grasp the simple reason why a utility responsible for safely managing the use of flammable gas would inspect each device when restoring service?
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George wrote:

Was there a problem with these devices *BEFORE* the gas was shut off?
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Does not matter. Protocol of the gas company is to inspect each unit to be sure the pilot is lit and gas if flowing properly through a purged line.
When they did some work on the line feeding our building at work, I had to take a gut to every gas unit in the building to check out.
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wrote:

Same here. That was way, way back then when I often didn't have enough money to pay the gas bill on time. I had just bought my first house and was "house poor." I was shut off for non-payment and they had to do the inspection routine where they discovered the previous owner had connected the gas dryer improperly and I got shut off AGAIN! I've kept an overpayment going with the gas company ever since.
-- Bobby G.
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On 12/24/2011 9:18 AM, Home Guy wrote:

As an imagined expert on everything you don't understand much about gaseous fuel burning systems and devices do you?
If you ran the "home guy" gas utility would you simply instruct your field crews to turn on the main valve and hit the road after a pipe breech that depressurized the system was repaired?
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<stuff snipped>

He would also make sure that each homeowner got a small "Why America Sucks" message printed on every bill.
All joking aside, they have to inspect carefully if contaminants entered the system because any number of dangerous conditions could be created depending on the nature of the contaminants. A while back I recall the EPA finding high levels of PCB's in natural gas being used in the midwest. While not a concern for furnaces and water heaters, the waste products from contaminated gas burned in gas ovens and stoves is directly inhaled. There was a big stink a while back about sulfur compounds in natural gas that became corrosive when burned and was damaging gas appliances.
-- Bobby G.
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On 12/27/2011 3:33 AM, Robert Green wrote:

I do a bit of consulting from time to time and have told people who are about to build or remodel for a new restaurant to have their mechanical contractor install a Y strainer on their incoming gas line. The gas company around here is really very good but I've repaired commercial gas equipment where I had to remove the gas valve and dump out what looked like the contents of an ash tray because it clogged the screen on the input of the gas valve. Whenever I've installed NG powered generators, I always install a Y strainer on the incoming gas line. Most folks have no idea what could be lurking in old gas mains. ^_^
http://www.stayflowstrainers.com/Y_Strainers/YCT1-YCS1-Y-STEEL-STRAINERS /
http://preview.tinyurl.com/cwncp7p
TDD
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On 12/22/2011 8:35 PM, Home Guy wrote:

I don't remember if posts said they are turning the gas off at houses. If they are, if you have air in the supply can you have air/gas burning in the pipes like "backfire" in an oxy/acetylene torch?
More likely, entry is to make sure particularly furnaces and boilers are operating. If gas was out here my boiler would try to operate, not have been able to light, and would 'lock out'. Thus no heat until reset. Water heaters could also have a problem. May also have to purge air from gas lines. It is standard procedure here to check houses after gas has been out. It is more critical when temperatures are low. Don't remember using locksmiths to get in.
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http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/south_county/natural-gas-issue-affecting-1600-homes
I wonder if all the people whose houses were entered by police/locksmith were notified in advance? If not, this sets a VERY bad precedence. Did the locksmiths replace/fix any damage?
--
EA




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Public safety seems to me a good reason. I have a waterheater with a pilot light. It doesn't need electricity to keep the water hot, which is a distinct advantage during a power outage (DAMHIKT). If there were air introduced in the municipal gas system that blew out the pilot, existing safeties may or may not prevent gas from flowing out the pilot into the basement. At a certain concentration that could becpome a definite explosion hazard. Homes here are close together, and if my home blew up, the homes on either side would be severely damaged. Enough reason for emergency personnel to service my gas lines in a bona fide gas emergency.
--
Best regards
Han
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wrote:

Except this wasn't an emergency per se, afaict. Presumably there was a main valve that shut off gas to the area. So THAT takes care of any blow-up type emergency.
Next, the gas meters need to be closed, OK, but there is now time for notice.
Was notice given?
Not arguing that the powers-dat-be could or should be refused access, just wondering about the procedure by which they GOT access.
Recall how the law of eminent domain has been badly abused lately, for the private sector -- which then can presumably be taxed to benefit the People, but what a stretch. And not a goddamm thing you can do about it, with the current paradigm of "legislation".
--
EA


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Admittedly, I didn't read the whole thing, and my "story" was more information than a response. But I do have a healthy respect for any explosion risks.
--
Best regards
Han
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ROFL:
Now there is time to give them notice ?
You mean that the entire area should remain with no gas service so that "proper notice" can be given to the property owners that an emergency exists and the gas company needs access to your meter and inside piping to purge the lines...
ROFL...
So you are in favor of making EVERYONE wait another 48 to 72 hours just so this "notice" can be given before any work is done ?
~~ Evan
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wrote:

ROFL:
Now there is time to give them notice ?
You mean that the entire area should remain with no gas service so that "proper notice" can be given to the property owners that an emergency exists and the gas company needs access to your meter and inside piping to purge the lines...
ROFL...
So you are in favor of making EVERYONE wait another 48 to 72 hours just so this "notice" can be given before any work is done ? =================================================== What are you, some kind of fukn idiot? Trader's brother, perhaps? Did I SAY 48-72 hours?
And how long do you think it took the cops and locksmiths to gain entry into hundreds of homes?? A 24 hr notice, broadcast, newapaper, or however, would have done fine, proly saved a fortune in overtime and other expense, etc, AND might have accomplished the task even quicker.
Still ROFL'ing?? Proly....
--
EA




~~ Evan



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He's not my brother, but he's one more person here who disagrees with you and to whom you'll probably be attributing posts from all the rest.

I don't recall any source here that said it was hundreds of homes where they were using locksmiths to gain entry. Only that it was 1600 homes affected that the gas company needed to visit to turn the gas back on and SOME of those required the locksmiths. We don't know what that number actually was.

Yeah, sure, real practical. If the gas company can't reach someone by phone, what is the probability that a 24hr notice is going to work? 24 hour notice in a newspaper? Real practical. That would make the 24 hours into more like 72 hours accounting for the time before publication the ad would have to be placed, allowing for the person to actually buy the paper, read it, etc. You read those little ads in the back? Or are you suggesting they buy the front page? And in the meantime, everyone else sits in a cold house.
For the record, there was TV, radio, and newspaper coverage of the event, which would seem to be sufficient, unless you need an ad with your name in it to pay attention.
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People have different communication styles. For example, I don't watch TV at all. You can reach me by phone, AM radio, email. Other people don't own computers. Stickers on the entry door would have helped reach some of them. Bilingual, with the text both in French and Russian. But not in American (ha, ha. Why does everyone assume that bilingual means English and Spanish? Why do people not know that English and American are noticably different languages?)
Of course, it's not fair to the people who were home (and cold) to delay everyone 24 hours, turning on the gas.
As I've stated, I think it would make FAR more sense to send in locksmith and fire department. The FD guys know more about gas appliances, and have more appropriate authority to make entries.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .

Yeah, sure, real practical. If the gas company can't reach someone by phone, what is the probability that a 24hr notice is going to work? 24 hour notice in a newspaper? Real practical. That would make the 24 hours into more like 72 hours accounting for the time before publication the ad would have to be placed, allowing for the person to actually buy the paper, read it, etc. You read those little ads in the back? Or are you suggesting they buy the front page? And in the meantime, everyone else sits in a cold house.
For the record, there was TV, radio, and newspaper coverage of the event, which would seem to be sufficient, unless you need an ad with your name in it to pay attention.
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