Forum Archives

Click here to join the conversation on the live forum.



We are just about done renovating and it has come to our attention that the house doesn’t have a water meter. I called DEP and they say that they no longer install them. I called the contractor and they say they’re not licensed to put one in.
Has anyone had any experience with having one put in?–Who does it? Where do you get it? What does it cost?
I’m afraid since it’s technically a 2 family (although it will only be used as a one-family) that if they do an estimated reading based on bathrooms, etc, that we’ll get reamed.
Thanks for any and all advice!!


We’ve moved into a big ole pre-war coop and Verizon is telling us that there’s no landline in our apartment (seems true as far as we can deduce) and that they need $140 to come install one.

I know that landlines are passe but I’m old fashioned and I like having a real phone. Preferably one that stays up even when the cable goes out (so no … I don’t want a VOIP phone/internet package).

Does anyone have experience with this? It seems steep for public utility service.


How can I physically determine if my National Grid gas meter is set up for wireless meter reading? Does anyone know what to look for? Also, if we do have one, how do they read it – inside the house, outside the house, or just driving by?

Here’s the story: About a year ago I took over handling the gas meter readings in our Brooklyn two-family home. (The family member who had handled it for decades was no longer able to.) No one’s around during the days/times National Grid is supposed to come around to take the reading, so the readings on our bills have either been ‘customer’ (where we phone it in) or ‘estimated’ (when we didn’t get around to phoning it in.)

Suddenly we received a bill with an ‘actual’ reading that was way the hell off. National Grid to their credit corrected the error, but the customer service rep said their must be a problem with our wireless gas meter (either it needs calibration or the battery died.) She insisted their records showed we had one.

The number of times I looked at the meter I didn’t see any plastic boxes or wires coming off it. Just an old-school Rockwell International gas meter with mechanical numeric readout.


Was trying to shut circuit breaker off due to high bills in rental. 700 sq ft, no washer, dryer, dishwasher, coffee maker, not even an iron – yet the bill runs around 140-170 a month in winter. So I wanted to shut down everything but the kitchen (fridge) and the outlets click off but the overhead lights do not. Does this mean I’m on a shared meter, paying for someone else’s electric or am I on someone else’s meter (hard to believe my bills would be so high if that is the case). Illegal basement apartment, landlord’s apt then i’m on top floor. H E L P!!


I’d appreciate any help on this subject. I live in a house by Cooper park. There are two units, one is the upper floors, one is the basement apartment. I live in the upper.
The basement apartment has been consistently flooding and the sewer system has had to be cleaned/snaked. (It’s been backing up into the apartment.)
My landlords are blaming me for flushing things like socks down the toilet in my apartment. I have definitely not done this. I don’t have guests that often, but the few who have come over have also not brought socks with them to flush down the toilet.
Apparently the sewer backup is definitely caused by one the two apartments – mine or the one below.
And now my landlord is getting pretty nasty about the whole thing, despite me knowing that it is in no way due to anything I’ve done. I’ve been here 4 months.
Does anyone know what could be causing this?


I saw an earlier Forum post about National Grid insisting that a four-story single family home had to open a commercial account to get gas service. Our four-unit condominium experienced a variation on this theme, and I’d be grateful if anyone can shed some further light on this.

Our condo recently changed banks, and when we contacted National Grid to update the bank info for automatic billing, they insisted that while we had been considered a residential account before, we were now considered a commercial account. They also charged us a $500+ “security” deposit, which they said we’d get back when we closed the account. Now, short of some disaster that burned the building to the ground, I can’t imagine a situation where we’d ever close the account. When we balked at paying the security deposit, they added it as a “late payment” on our bill, and then threatened to shut off the gas if we didn’t pay. (Actually, they threatened to “notify [our] tenants” of an impending gas shut-down. Do they not understand the concept of a condominium? And that we don’t have tenants?)

This just seems wrong on so many levels. I can understand that a four-unit rental building would be considered commercial real estate, but four condominiums is not the same thing — this is a building that consists of four separate single-family homes. We just happen to share a common water heater, and a common boiler to heat the common hallways. More to the point, this is not a new account. We’ve had an account with National Grid (formerly Keyspan) for many years, obviously. Finally, how are they allowed to consider a newly-assessed security deposit as a late payment?

Anyone else have a similar experience? And is there any other gas service provider in Brooklyn, or are we stuck with National Grid?


Hello folks,
I am in need of some info. I am considering helping my daughter and son-in-law buy a place in the Lefferts Garden area as it is less pricey than Park Slope,etc. It does seem to be a generally improving area, and an investment there looks like a good one down the road. Can anyone tell me what the expected utilities costs might be for a 3 story home, about 1850 sq ft.? I guess that means gas,electric, water/sewer and?? I’m in NC now, so I’m not able to get this info in person , and I’m leery of what a realtor will tell me. Thanks for ANY input!!


Happy New Year Brownstoners! So 2011 finds me (finally!) the owner of a house in Brooklyn! Yay! As a first time homeowner, I expect my learning curve to be steep and look forward to posting many pleas for advice as we renovate and get the feel for our new place. My first question involves the oil tank. Can anyone give me an idea of how many gallons of oil you burn through a year to heat a 3,000+ square foot brownstone? I’m particularly concerned with the winter months. When we closed this December, the oil tank had 765 gallons in it. We plan on switching to an HVAC system this spring. Do we even need any more oil this winter? Thank you for your help/opinions!


Just bought a 2-bedroom very long railroad style condo. The building is newly renovated, but the sponsor for some reason decided not to wire the units for Internet, just phone. I have a wireless router, but it doesn’t reach into the back of the apartment, and extension routers slow the network down. I’d like to remove the phone wiring and install Cat-6 lines through the existing phone line conduits. Ideally, I’d connect the new Cat-6 lines to my router in a central location in the apartment. Anyone know if this is practical / possible? And is this a DIY project, or should I get assistance from a pro?


Hello All:

National Grid has started to offer wireless meter reading so that no entry to the house is needed.

I was wondering if anyone has had experience with the service. It is $80 per device.

Thanks in advance to any information on your experience with this service.