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Utility Futility!

Robbie
Robbie Member Posts: 41
I finally got all the connections made on my new boiler, etc., and would love to report it is working wonderfully, heat is super, and I am very happy. I'd like to, but I can't... I was preparing to leak check the gas lines after the replacement(as well as replacement of the valves in the line) when my work in this vein was brought to a screeching, grinding halt. I received my gas bill...



This should not present a problem, but here it is: I have been working on a house I bought in November. Since it was purchased, I have not used ANY gas! The water heater was off, pending a check out and cleaning(I did that a couple weeks ago) and the old boiler was quite burnt out. So, no need for gas- All line cocks are closed, so no gas flow.



To complicate this situation, the house had 3 gas regulators in place, and I had two removed by PSE&G (gas & electric co), so I was down to one. Also, nobody had occupied the place in around 6-8 months before we bought it, so they have been unable to get an actual reading, and have been relying on estimated readings!



Why am I mentioning all this? Because I received a bill, for NO USE, of over $900.00! They have me as using over $600 worth of gas! Because their estimates were wrong, and because they did not bother getting a reading before closing.



I am waiting for their investigator to contact me, and have had the gas acct. frozen. How hard is it to convert a brand new gas boiler to oil?



All that work, and the coldest winter in years- I am restoring a house in bitter cold using an electric heater, because I refuse to pay for gas not used, and so have left the entire system as it is- new stuff connected, radiators not connected and no pilots lit. I can't wait for heat. At least my 2 day plumbing repairs to the house(all the stuff in the basement was missing) are almost done- after almost 3 months of solid work!(whole house replumbed...)



You guys have no idea how frustrated I am... Thanks for letting me "vent"!



Scott

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,412
    That's the gas company for you

    almost as bad as the government, eh?



    What kind of boiler did you install? If it was an atmospheric type, forget trying to convert it. But if it's a power-burner one like a Solaia, Slant/Fin Intrepid or Smith G-8, it's not hard at all.



    Is this a steam or hot-water system?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Robbie
    Robbie Member Posts: 41
    edited January 2010
    Type...

    It is the Union Steam equivalent of a Weil-McLaine EG-45.



    Not sure what type that is tho, beyond a steam boiler(single pipe steam)



    Scott 
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,090
    Meter reading

    Wasn't there a meter reading taken when you closed on this house so you could differentiate your usage from the previous owner.  Also when you bought the house didn't you have to open an account with PSE&G.  A reading should have been made at that time.  You say the bill was estimated.  How does the actual reading on the meter compare to the estimate.
  • Robbie
    Robbie Member Posts: 41
    Well,

    There was supposed to be one, but nobody from either agent called for one! And their estimate was way low: they had not gotten an actual reading in months, as nobody lived there...



    One PSE&G reader came by in December, but his reading does not seem to have been recorded! I let him in myself. And they removed two meters- I would have thought they'd have checked the reading then, but they did not.



    I took photos of the meters when there were still 3 there, and I am hoping I have a  good enough angle, and can zoom enough to make out the reading... It should not have changed, given the gas is shut off at the meter!



    I am also going to have PSE&G move the meter outside,, so this "estimate" crap never happens again!



    Scott
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,090
    Gas Meter

    What does the meter read now and how does it compare with the estimated bill? Every time PSE&G has estimated my bill it has been on the low side. My meter is inside I just make sure I phone in the reading.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,412
    It's an atmospheric

    the gas company's favorite- not the most efficient and you can't convert it. Here are two models that can burn either gas or oil:
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Robbie
    Robbie Member Posts: 41
    Readings

    Actually, their estimated total was way low... However, that does not change the fact I have used no gas since moving in...



    I do have photos I took before closing of the meters(all three in place) and also after the two extras were removed: When enlarged, you can make out the positions of the pointers in both pics, on the meter in question: and they are unchanged- and match the current reading. I have to get them enlarged & printed- I want to have them handy for the investigator, when he shows up. I brought them up on another computer, and I could see well enough to see they are the same. On my computer, the photo utility is not great...



    Scott
  • Robbie
    Robbie Member Posts: 41
    ?

    So, what is the difference? I'm sure I could find a way to get an oil fired burner under it...  ;)



    Scott
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,697
    really...

    trying to put an oil burner into a gas fire atmospheric boiler would be like trying to put a Ford Mustang engine into a Honda dirt bike.... I am sure the gas co. will realize their mistake and change the bill.... lots of dropped balls here on meter readings.
  • r. perry
    r. perry Member Posts: 45
    get your state PUC involved.....

    File a complaint with your State's PUC --Public Utility Commission.  That will get the gas co's attention...FAST!  I've lived in several states and everywhere I've lived, dealing with the local gas co. has been a nightmare.  I have no idea why...probably because until very recently, they were a monopoly.  Don't give in, just persevere.  Eventually, you'll win.  I always have.  Good Luck!  R. Perry.
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