After neighbor Emily recently had to wait for weeks before National Grid filled a giant hole the company dug outside her home, she wanted to share the experience with her neighbors so that others in a similar situation can be well versed in how to handle it.
Emily told us that National Grid came to her Ditmas Park home on July 21 and began to dig a hole, which company workers told her was to address a gas leak.
“I asked if I should be concerned, as I have a 7-month-old in the house and tenants on the second floor,” Emily wrote in a complaint she ended up filing with the state Public Service Commission. “He said he wouldn’t know until they finished digging. He said the leak is probably from my line because I have old metal piping. He said it’s an easy fix, where they would run the plastic tubing from outside through the old metal pipe and then have to redo the fittings inside my house. He got his measurements and left to continue digging. Around 1pm, it was quiet, and I looked outside and National Grid was gone.”
Emily assumed the workers had left for a lunch break – but they didn’t return that day.
“No one contacted me, rang my bell or left a note to let me know what was going on,” Emily wrote in the same complaint. “They left the hole in the street with cones around it. Next morning, as I was leaving for work, National Grid was outside again and stopped me. He said that the leak was from me and they needed to get in my house.”
After discussing why she was upset that no one had let her know what happening the day before, she allowed the individual into her home.
“I realized it was a losing battle, and I took the day off from work so that this could be done and over with,” Emily stated in her complaint. “They finally finished digging around 2pm and came inside to start what they had to do. They finally finished around 5pm and then went back outside to pack and left around 6pm. They left the hole in the street with the dig debris next to it and cones around the hole.”
That was July 22. The hole wasn’t filled until mid-August.
For weeks, Emily made complaints with National Grid.
“It’s now 8/13, and I’ve called and left complaints with National Grid on six separate occasions to see when they will be coming back to fill the hole and repave the street because it’s not safe to leave all my underground utilities exposed like this for that long,” Emily wrote to the PSC. “We have kids that play across the street and a school down the block. This is a hazard to my family and neighbors!”
Becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation, Emily turned to 311, which referred her to the PSC’s website to file a complaint.
“I received an email two hours later from NYS PSC giving me a case number and they said, “Since National Grid – Metro NY did not previously resolve this matter to your satisfaction, we have escalated your concern to senior staff at the company,” Emily wrote.
The next day, August 14, Emily saw a National Grid worker outside her home.
“I asked him if he’s here to fill the hole and he said he’s been trying to get a permit for three weeks and that it’s DOT that’s holding it up,” Emily wrote to us. “He said he was on the phone with the commissioner trying to resolve it and get approval for him to fill the hole before getting a permit – and that most likely he’ll get the approval and the hole will at least be filled with dirt by the end of the day. Paving might be next week. So that was all good news.”
After that saga, the hole was finally filled – and Emily stressed that, “though I thought 311 wasn’t helpful on the phone,” they “did direct me to file a complaint against the utility – and that seemed to have sped the process along much quicker than calling National Grid directly.”
Additionally, Emily noted that 311 “said you have to call the utility first – and then if they don’t do anything, then you file the complaint with the NYS PSC.”
“Hopefully anyone else who would read the blog and has a similar problem will know what to do now since I’m sure I’m not the only one with old metal pipe gas fittings!” Emily said.
We’ve also reached out to National Grid for comment.