Gas boilers in gas boiler room

When buildings have been utilizing oil-burning boilers and the owners decide to switch to natural gas, a load letter is also required. Additionally, the gas utility will need all your invoiced oil bills for the past two years. We are professional engineering firm; we will estimate the gas load requirements after performing a plan review or detailed site survey. Any building owner wanting to convert from oil to natural gas should contact a licensed professional to estimate the conversion costs involved before submitting a request for a new gas service with the required gas load letter.

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Gas Load Letter Requirements

When And Why Are Gas Load Letters Required?

Gas load letters are required for all new buildings that will be utilizing natural gas as well as buildings that are to be extended and will need a greater quantity of gas supply.

When buildings have been utilizing oil-burning boilers and the owners decide to switch to natural gas, a load letter is also required. Additionally, the gas utility will need all your invoiced oil bills for the past two years.

Gas load letters contain terms and conditions that cover everything from payment obligations to ownership by the utility company of equipment supplied. In addition to supplying the utility with detailed information of what gas service is required, including how much gas, pressure, BTU input and so on, it formalizes the relationship between the new customer and the gas utility company and itemizes various responsibilities.

Typically, the various terms and conditions included in gas load letters limit the liability of the utility, indemnify the company, and the enforce obligations of the new customer.

Some of the T&Cs from the National Grid load letter state:

  • There must be an acceptance by the applicant to pay for the required gas service at the applicable rate and in accordance with further terms and conditions.
  • An assurance by the utility company that damage to property will be minimized and excavated lawns will be raked and seeded.
  • The gas distribution system will be installed, weather permitting.
  • If the necessary federal, state and local authority permits cannot be obtained, and the installation cannot be performed, the agreement formed by the gas load letter will be null and void.
  • If the issuance of permits and/or weather conditions delay installation, the utility will not be liable for damages.
  • Applicants applying for new construction gas services are responsible for grading and cleaning up debris, removing scaffolding and so on, after the construction of sewer lines, electricity, water lines, and roads.
  • Applicants are responsible for providing easements, permits, and rights-of-way necessary for the utility to be able to install the natural gas distribution lines needed to be able to provide the service.
  • The utility has the right to accept the meter location specified or to modify its position depending on installation requirements.
  • Applicants must provide all known information relating to environmental contamination or threat of contamination. It is the applicant’s responsibility to remediate contamination if encountered during installation. Alternatively, the contract might be canceled.
  • The utility owns the gas distribution system up to the meter, whether inside or outside the building.
  • If the applicant is responsible for excavation and backfilling, this must be done in compliance with the utility company’s specifications.
  • The applicant is held responsible for marking out where any underground facilities are on the property if not done so by the utility’s notification of the mandatory New York State One Call system that was formed to prevent damage during digging.
  • If the installation isn’t used within three to six months (depending on whether it is an existing home or new build), the applicant must pay for costs of installation and disconnection plus any additional costs less payments received.

Con Edison has a “hold harmless” letter that customers are required to sign.

Information Required In Gas Load Letters

The two gas utility companies that provide gas services, Con Ed and National Grid, have gas load forms for customers to use. Filling in the “letter” is simple, but ensuring the required information is accurate is considerably more complicated. 

In essence, if the building is not new, the gas load letter will list and describe any existing equipment installed for burning gas and their gas loads together with all the proposed new equipment and their associated gas loads. Although the forms supplied by the two gas utility companies are not exactly the same, this is the kind of information that will be required:

  • Information required for existing gas equipment includes:
    • The type of equipment, for example, heating, water heater, cooking, to be used.
    • The number of units on the premises.
    • The model number, if available.
    • Minimum and maximum operating pressure.
    • The BTU (heat energy) input for each unit as well as the total existing BTU input.
    • The rate at which the customer will be charged. The National Grid gas load letter specifies firm and dual fuel rates while the Con Ed gas load letter also specifies an interruptible rate for service (see Firm, Interruptible, Dual Fuel Firm Gas ) If an interruptible rate is opted for the grade of oil to be used with natural gas needs to be specified.
  • Information for new gas equipment to be installed includes:
    • The type of equipment to be installed including burners and boilers.
    • The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) that measures the heating efficiency of boilers and furnaces. The U.S. Department of energy requires a minimum AFUE of 84% for gas boilers.
    • The number of units to be installed.
    • The model number, if available.
    • Operating pressure.
    • The BTU input for each unit as well as the total new BTU input.
    • The rate at which the customer will be charged: firm or dual fuel.
  • The gas load letter also asks applicants to confirm other energy efficient procedures that are to be followed:
    • Pipe insulation
    • Wall and roof insulation
    • Building controls
    • Anything else to be specified
  • The customer’s mailing address, phone number, and email address are required as well as confirmation of whether the building is a:
    • Residence for one to five families
    • Multifamily residence for six or more families
    • Commercial building
    • Building that has mixed use
  • The utility may request information regarding the number of stories, basements, and sub-basements in the building.
  • The plumbing company’s details may also be required as well as confirmation of whether this is a new or existing structure.
  • The date the gas is expected to be on is required as well.
  • Finally, photographs to prove “job site readiness” are usually required before the gas service can be scheduled. This includes any excavated lawn areas.

A professional engineering firm like New York Engineers will estimate the gas load requirements after performing a plan review or detailed site survey.

New York Engineers has a great track record and boasts the fastest average turnaround for new gas connection approvals. The only delay will be if new gas connections have been suspended in your area for some reason, for example, because of pipeline capacity upstream of distribution systems.

Benefits of Using Natural Gas

Natural Gas Versus Oil

Many people convert from oil heating to natural gas because it is cleaner and can help to shrink their carbon footprint. Natural gas can also save building owners money, though it may not be the best option for every customer.

National Grid maintains that natural gas is the most popular fuel for heating homes in the U.S. because it is clean, reliable, and efficient. The company finds that demand even increases in summer because electricity use increases and most power plants use gas to produce electricity.

Con Edison recommends that any building owner wanting to convert from oil to natural gas should contact a licensed professional to estimate the conversion costs involved before submitting a request for a new gas service with the required gas load letter. A reliable estimate will help you decide if, in fact, converting to natural gas is a good option for your building or home.

This is a service NY Engineers offers. Once we have estimated your specific costs and the gas load requirements for the building, we will discuss your options. If you decide to proceed, we will submit your gas service request on your behalf.

It is important to understand that converting to gas is not always possible. For instance, gas lines do not always have sufficient capacity to include more buildings. Also, the Department of Transportation may have restrictions in terms of how many time streets or sidewalks can be opened up in a five-year period.

Another factor is that gas utility companies are only permitted to expand gas infrastructure once they have received gas load letters from buildings. It is also necessary for owners and their engineers to prove that they are ready to convert from oil to natural gas. But there is a caveat: because the demand for natural gas has increased so much, natural gas production is struggling to keep pace.

Firm, Interruptible, And Dual Fuel Firm Gas

When buildings convert from heavy fuel oils to natural gas, rates payable for gas may be firm, interruptible, or dual fuel firm. Applicants specify their preference in the gas load letter.

Firm gas rates apply to buildings that burn only natural gas and the service is never interrupted due to weather or any other conditions. Con Edison’s firm gas customers are eligible for an entitlement that allows them 100 free feet of gas main (in the street) and 100 free feet of service in their buildings.

Con Edison requires some buildings to commit to firm gas rates for five years. The reason for this is to cover the costs of entitlements.

Interruptible gas rates are charged to customers who may burn either gas or oil. However, Con Edison does sometimes require customers to switch from gas to oil or to another source of energy at times, in accordance with pre-established criteria. Because of this, interruptible customers are obliged to keep a 10-day supply of No. 2 oil. Installation of the gas service (the gas line) to the building is another additional cost.

Dual fuel firm gas rates are available to some buildings that burn at least 70,000 gallons of oil per year. The way this works is that the building is charged a firm gas rate and required to burn a minimum amount of gas annually in accordance with an amount Con Edison sets. The construction cost to bring the gas main and service to the building is determined via a revenue test that calculates whether the revenue from the building’s gas usage will offset the costs of installation.

Fuel Gas Codes & Laws

Natural Gas Meters

New York State’s Fuel Gas Code is based on the International Fuel Gas Code 2015 (IFGC 2015) with significant amendments in Chapter 1: General Requirements.

The Code specifies that installation requirements for utility service piping that is located inside buildings should comply with the International Building Code 2015, which has also been adopted with amendments by New York State.

It also specifies that where there is piping leading from multiple meter installations these should be marked with approved identifications markings by the installer to ensure each meter can be quickly and easily identified. This is a vital requirement in multi-family buildings.

The NYC Local Law changed in 2016 in the interests of safety for residents. For instance, from January 1, 2020, only licensed master plumbers, people with gas work qualifications, or with limited gas work qualifications are permitted to work on gas piping systems. Furthermore, training, qualifications, and competence must be proved.

Additionally, all final gas pipe final inspections must be performed by the Department of Buildings inspectors. The permit holder, a construction superintendent, or a registered design professional must also be present.

The federal regulations have also changed the service piping definition which now includes all gas piping up to the gas meter. Previously, the utility-owned gas distribution system up to the wall of the building where customer meters were located or, if inside, up to the first accessible fitting inside the wall of the building. Now it is up to the meter.

Ultimately, the team understands the ramifications of new gas services including the technical demands of the required gas load letter, an all-important document. We will help ascertain if using natural gas is your best option, and if so, complete the gas load letter as a first step towards your new gas service.

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