Cost/Process of adding a gas meter

bluezephyrJanuary 17, 2009

My sister owns a duplex in Oakland CA (thank you for your condolences). Each unit has a gas and electric meter, and she would like to add house meters (gas and electric) in order to hook up a laundry room. Any general idea of the costs involved, as well as the proper steps to take?

I've made two attempts down at the city permit dept. but did not get a chance to talk with anyone because I only had an hour for lunch and they did not get to my number by the 1 hr mark.

I called the permit dept and got a call back but the person rushed through the explanation. It seems like this is the procedure:

1. Get a permit for a new gas and electric meter.

2. Run new pipe and wire in accordance to code and PG&E specs.

3. Get work signed off on by city.

4. Have PG&E come and install meters.

Does this sound right? I called PG&E and could not get any information except "Call us when you're ready for the meters."

I'm just trying to avoid waiting 1.5- 2 hours at the permit dept. only to be told "Sorry, you need the RC-294 request form from PG&E before we'll issue any permits."

Also, does the utility company generally charge for the installation of new meters? I've heard conflicting information.

Thanks very much for any help on this.

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frodo_2009

you need to get a electrical and plumbing permit from the bldg department...before work begins..
then do the work have it inspected
call theutility co for the meter
this is where i live,may be diff where you live
you might as well take a day off and handle it
usualy quicker 1st thing in the am

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 9:19PM
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bluezephyr

Thanks Frodo- your reply is helpful. It's hard for me to take a day off right now but I'll see what can be worked out.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 10:18PM
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hendricus

I think the first thing to do is get someone in to do a qoute on the work. In our area you need specifics of the job in order to get a permit. You could be at the permit office all day and then they ask for the prints or plans of the work involved.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 10:30PM
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davidandkasie

just to add, your sister may have to do it, or it may have to be pulled by the actual contractor doign the work. in my area anything touching electrical or gas MUST be pulled by the contractor. since this is a duplex i assume she rents a portion of it, so she definitely will ahve to hire a pro for the work. and don't let the pro tell her she doe snot need a permit, she does.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 12:17AM
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wa8b

You or your sister should contact several electrical contractors for cost estimates on what you want to do. Know what you want to do in advance, and be specific, including where you want stuff located. Then ask each contractor to estimate the cost for the exact same specification. You're likely to get a range of cost estimates, but with any luck, they should be fairly similar. If they vary wildly, seek a couple of more estimates, then you'll have an idea of what's reasonable. Ask each contractor for references, and check them.

A permit will be needed. PG&E won't install a meter or connect you to the grid until the work is inspected and signed off. PG&E may or may not charge to install the meter, but you will have to pay for the box to which the meter attaches, and whatever appurtenances are necessary to connect the service to the building.

If you don't want to deal with the required permits, get the contractors to include permits in their estimates. It's often faster and easier for electricians to pull the required permits because they often know the staff in the planning department, and they know the technical language for exactly what they need.

Once you settle on a contractor, he'll pull the permit (unless you decide to do it yourself), do the work, then arrange for the inspection. Your sister will probably have to arrange for the customer account with PG&E, and for the power connection, but the electrician can probably advise her on when to schedule it.

If you want a house gas meter, you'll need a plumbing contractor, too. The same plan of action would apply. Personally, if it were me, I might be inclined to go for an all electric laundry. It might be much less costly than installing a gas line just for a clothes dryer, at least up front.

PG&E is usually pretty easy to deal with. I'm not sure about Oakland's planning department.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 2:35AM
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bluezephyr

Thanks everyone for so much great information.

This will all be done with permits by licensed contractors. But the work will not be started until April, due to financial issues.

We're just trying to plan ahead and get a sense of the scope of the job before getting estimates. There's nothing worse than flying blind into projects like this.

In Oakland, the owner can pull permits, so my sister will take care of this. As for electric vs. gas dryers, I agree that going electric would probably be cheaper and easier initially, but she's leaning towards gas based on past experience with electric.

I appreciate the feedback. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 12:30PM
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brickeyee

You will be paying a monthly account charge to have a separate meter.

It would be much less expensive to just agree on a monthly charge for using the washer and dryer and feed it off a unit.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 1:21PM
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bluezephyr

brickeyee,

Thanks for the reply. I see what you're saying, but those kinds of arrangements often lead to headaches. If everyone was reasonable it could work, but sometimes rentals get tricky.

Then again if the cost of the work and permits is really high, alternatives may be explored.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 2:39PM
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brickeyee

"...those kinds of arrangements often lead to headaches. If everyone was reasonable it could work, but sometimes rentals get tricky."

Increase the rent by $10 a month and forget about it.

If you are worried about someone taking advantage put a clause in the lease that the laundry is for the personal use of the renter only.

The monthly charge for a service will be at least $5 for gas and $5 electric.

Look at your bill and see what the 'system charge' is.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 6:54PM
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