Tag Archives: gas lines

Jackson Heights residents call National Grid a ‘bad neighbor’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Updated 5:20 p.m.

Residents on one Jackson Heights street are calling on National Grid to be a good neighbor and take care of “dangerous” holes left unattended for weeks after digging was started last month to work on gas pipe updates.

Councilman Daniel Dromm and residents on 80th Street gathered on the block Tuesday morning to speak out against holes created by the utility company that were left ignored for weeks.

The holes, which measure about 13 feet by 3 feet and go as deep as three to six feet, were dug by National Grid in April to start renovations on underground gas lines. However, residents said that in the beginning of May work just stopped and the holes were left uncovered and surrounded by barriers and cones, most of which fell into the holes.

“The damage they have done to this street makes you understand that National Grid is a bad neighbor. You don’t come into communities, dig up streets, leave piles of dirt and then leave the exposed pipes open to all types of foul play, to children falling into them, and then not respond to the community,” Dromm said. “We are here today to demand that National Grid minimally put plates over this, fix this work, and ensure the safety of the community is taken care of here.”

Dromm added that his office communicated with National Grid several times, but no fixes have been made. The councilman said he even left his personal number and never received a call back.

Some residents expressed concerns that they have seen children playing in the holes, and others said the exposed gas lines have been letting out gaseous odors.

A Courier reporter on the scene also smelled gas odors coming out of one of the holes.

“The unfinished repair work initiated by National Grid on April 17, 2015, has not only resulted in a trip and fall hazard to pedestrians but has made us nervous because we were told originally the construction was to remedy a gas leak,” said Ricky Castro, co-op board vice president. “Despite many complaints we have received no answers about why we smell gas and if it’s safe.”

Castro added that last weekend when it rained, water filled the holes and caused the basement of one of the apartment buildings, which has storage units belonging to residents, to flood.

According to residents, National Grid workers showed up Tuesday morning but no work was being done. They also added that they have called the FDNY, Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection and were told National Grid is responsible for the holes.

A spokeswoman for National Grid said the company is committed  to ensuring the safety of the public.

She added the company is using industry-approved methods to secure the work site and have the appropriate work permits. Also, National Grid is conducting daily surveys of the area to maintain safety until the repairs are completed.

“We apologize for the inconvenience but the work is necessary to ensure a safe and reliable gas system for the community,” the spokeswoman said. “Last month during an investigation we detected a gas leak and made arrangements to schedule the repairs, working around parking restrictions on the block.”

She added the gas lines had been replaced on the street and now each home in three buildings has to be transferred to the new service lines. The company is working to notify everyone in the buildings.

Crews are expected to be on site starting Wednesday through the end of the week to complete the work and have the holes filled.

Residents are urged to call 911 or National Grid’s Gas emergency number, 718-643-4050.

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Hours-long gas lines remain as Gov lifts restrictions to ease shortage


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Maggie Hayes

With millions of New Yorkers heading back to work and limited subway service, many residents hopped in their cars only to find no place to fill up.

“Gas is in short supply,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the daily press conference updating New Yorkers on the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

Senator Charles Schumer announced the reopening of New York Harbor for fuel yesterday to help alleviate the shortage.

Stations need product and the reopening of the harbor will help a great deal, said Ralph Bombardiere, executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops.

New York Harbor is the busiest oil port in the world, receiving an average of 900,000 barrels of petroleum products per day, according to the Energy Department.

Cuomo also signed an executive order waiving the states requirements the registration and tax requirement for fuel tankers before unloading at the harbor and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano waived the Jones Act which will bring additional tankers with fuel into the region.

“It’s going to be better in the near future,” Cuomo said.

As of this morning, long lines litter the gas stations throughout the borough that still have gas, with drivers waiting hours.

Other stations are still without electricity, preventing them from pumping gas.

“Those gas stations that have gas have no electricity and stations with electricity don’t have any gas,” said Bombardiere.

Whenever a station does get a shipment of gas, they get mobbed and quickly run out, said Chris Mcbride, community transportation specialist at AAA.

With news of a gas shortage spreading over social media, residents panic and fill up even if they have a half-tank, said Bombardiere.

“A lot of the reserves are in people’s tanks” he said.

This can quickly become a problem in a shortage.

“You wouldn’t want too many people hoarding it, if it means some people have none,” said Mcbride.

The length of the shortage will likely depend on how long power is out in a significant portion of the area, Mcbride said.  If the outage continues much longer, the government will need to get involved, he said.

“Once power is restored, more stations will open and when people see that, there will be less of a rush and less demand,” said Mcbride.

Bombardiere expects “a nail-biting situation until the weekend.” After that the situation should ease each day and by next Friday stations should be fully up and running.