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George W. Gibson
Nathan A. Tyler
Rush's Acetylene Town Plant.
REPORT OF COMMISSION OF GAS AND ELECTRICITY.
STATE OF NEW YORK:
OFFICE OF STATE INSPECTOR OF Gas METERS,
No 109 BROAD STREET.
New YORK CITY, January 7, 1907. Honorable FREDERIC E. GUNNISON, President of State Commis
sion of Gas and Electricity, New York City: MY DEAR SIR.— I have the honor to submit to you my annual report for 1906, beginning December 1, 1905, to December 31, 1906.
The entire number of gas meters inspected and sealed by my department comprise as follows: New meters
139,149 Repaired meters
206,161 Private meters
A detailed and specific report of same is annexed herewith.
The inspection of the new gas meters, which number 139,149, is made in the shops of the gas meter manufacturers, principally in this city and Albany, by one or two deputies detailed alternately for that work. Although the law requires that each and every gas meter be inspected and sealed by this department, it is a physical impossibility to do so. Firstly, because of the large number thereof, and secondly, because of the inadequate number of inspectors employed to do that kind of work. As stated above, the number of new and repaired gas meters amount to 345,310. Each meter in order to be thoroughly tested as to its accuracy must be run down two or three times on a so-called holder, so that the test of one meter would consume at least ten minutes' time, making six meters per hour, or forty-two per day. Divide the number of gas meters manufactured and repaired by that number it would 29
then require a force of about fifty men to do this work. As I have but nine testers and four deputies scattered all over the State it is readily seen that the law, as far as the testing of these meters is concerned, cannot be executed as the law prescribes. However, I have my deputies instructed to keep close surveillance over the proving machines operated by the meter manufacturers and gas companies, and see to it that the seals are properly attached to the gas meters. I will add that we rarely find a new meter inaccurate. In fact, the gas companies who purchase the meters from the manufacturers do not accept them if incorrect, and every one is proved over again before they are placed in the houses of the consumers.
The strictest and most careful attention is given to the examination of the complaints of gas consumers who believe their gas bills to be excessive on account of the condition of the meters.
Applications for gas meter tests are made to me by people of all classes, by working men, by mechanics, small and big storekeepers, and by manufacturers, who in evidence produce their gas bills of former years, claiming not to burn any more gas than they did then, yet their bills have increased from year to year, although in many cases the electric light has supplanted the use of gas on their premises, and should have, therefore, reduced their gas bills for illuminating purposes.
In order to do full justice to these complaints, I have instructed my inspectors not only to confine themselves to the inspection of the gas meters but to also examine the index, compare it with their gas bills, to look for any gas leak or any defect of the burners, to find out if consumers are not charged for gas from meters not belonging to them, and to inform themselves of the way the gas is generally used in these houses. The reports brought to me strengthen my belief that the meter is but the innocent cause of the high gas bills. Gas is used extensively for cooking, ironing, and heating purposes, and often recklessly by servants, boarders, and house attaches without the knowledge of consumers, which would naturally increase their gas bills. Still, I believe firmly that a large number of these complaints are well founded, and I confess that I am often mystified as to the real cause of these unwarrantable increases in gas bills. The dissatisfaction of the public grows daily against the gas companies, and the complaints become more numerous and more urgent. The disappointment at seeing the eighty-cent gas bill passed in the last Legislature still