Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Resident report: 1 month without gas for cooking at 22 St. Mark's Place

Back in late December, Mamoun's had to close for more than a week at 22 St. Mark's Place due to a problem with the building's gas line.

Per Mamoun's Facebook page: "Con Edison shut off our gas at the Saint Marks location because of a gas leak at the building. Our line was not affected but they shut it off anyway. We cannot get con edison to come back and turn it back on because of their huge bureaucracy!"

The gas returned Jan. 4. However, the rest of the tenants in the building haven't fared as well. A resident of 22 St. Marks Place, between Second Avenue and Third Avenue, said that tenants have been without cooking gas since the end of December (they do have hot water and heat).

Per the resident: "The building is doing very little to solve the problem ... and will not answer any real questions.

Yesterday, the landlord's reps apparently said that Con Ed would be by to "fix the problem." However, the residents were told that they needed to be at home during the day so Con Ed could access their apartments.

"People organized their schedules to work from home or took the day off."

No one from Con Ed ever arrived.

Meanwhile, according to the resident, the management company — NBKM Realty Management Corp. — is providing information contradictory to that of Con Ed. And the landlord is not offering any abatement for the lack of cooking gas for the past month.

On previous posts, readers offered advice on this all-too-common problem here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
How much of a rent discount for not having gas for cooking?

Residents of 97 E. Seventh St. haven't had gas for cooking since Feb. 19


Anonymous said...

After a building has had its gas turned off, Con Ed runs an "integrity test" before turning the gas back on. They pump pressurized air (not gas) into all of the gas pipes of the building at once to make sure that the pipes can withstand and maintain the pressure, and to prove that the pipes are gas-tight.

However, countless apartments in older buildings still have stoves or ranges with pilot lights. These pilot lights are, in effect, small openings at the end of their gas lines. Unfortunately, Con Ed's integrity tests cannot differentiate the escape of air through innocent pilot lights from truly dangerous leaks that might exist elsewhere in the gas lines.

So buildings with stoves that have pilot lights necessarily fail the pressure integrity tests.

Con Ed then typically refuses to turn on the gas again until the landlord has hired gas-certified plumbers to run individual pressure tests on every apartment's gas line. (Con Ed usually refuses to run those tedious and time-consuming individual line tests themselves.)

Enter the shady plumbing contractors.

They pretend to conduct pressure tests on each line -- but with each apartment's shutoff valve behind the stove still wide open, allowing air to continue to leak out of the pilot lights. Those lines therefore seem to fail their (fake) integrity tests. And what is their fake cure? Installing unneeded replacement shutoff valves behind those stoves (at the landlord's expense). The plumbers then conduct followup pressure tests but, this time, with the new valves closed. Miracle of miracles, no more leaks!

In a building where gas is included in the rent, it could be (I don't really know) that all of the gas lines form a single interconnected network. (There may not be separately metered gas pipes to each apartment.) For an integrity test in such a building, then, I assume, ALL of the shutoff valves behind ALL of the stoves would need to be turned off prior to the test.

blue glass said...

for what it's worth councilwoman rosie mendez has a special con edison liaison reprssentative or whatever that nobody by she can talk to - it's worth a try.
call her office.
you are in her district.
that's her job.

Anonymous said...

Installing a new gas main requires getting a sidewalk closure permit, a street digging permit, a street closure permit, a plumber, a con-ed crew, etc.

It took me 3 months to do this in upper manhattan, and I called them every single day.

Anonymous said...

Our building is still without gas due to Sandy. Working with Con Ed is a nightmare.

glamma said...

Who is the landlord???
Great info from anon #1.
oy this crazy life.

Anonymous said...

Con Ed has been amazing in the situation. Answering all my questions and putting me in contact with the right people. It seems to really be the building here. They blamed the whole situation on the person who called in the gas leak, saying they should have called management. Meaning they would have gotten more illegal plumbers out to "fix" the problem.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if this were a sane world, before running any initial pressure integrity test, Con Ed would ask the landlord or super (or even the residents) if stoves in a building had pilot lights.

If so, Con Ed wouldn't even attempt such an integrity test until all of the shutoff valves behind the stoves had been turned off.

That might take days for the landlord, super and residents to arrange (because it seems to require the absence of gas for a few days for everyone's attention to focus, and for the landlord or super to gain access to all of the apartments), but at least it would preempt the sorts of idiotic charades that usually play out, with Con Ed deceitfully playing dumb ("The building must have a leak!") and washing its hands of all further responsibility to help.

Anonymous said...

so you can