The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia has informed us about new gas meter regulations which may significantly alter the facades of historic homes and row houses in urban Philadelphia communities.  The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission is proposing that GAS METERS AND RELATED UTILITY EQUIPMENT BE INSTALLED OR RELOCATED TO THE STREET-FACING FRONTS OF ALL HOMES within the next ten years.  We feel that if this proposal were to be enacted, it will add an industrial quality to the aesthetic of our neighborhood and have a negative impact on its historic character.  THE PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION IS ONLY ACCEPTING COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ISSUE UNTIL JULY 16, 2012.  If you are concerned about this issue, please send your comments to the Preservation Alliance as soon as possible by following the instructions at the bottom of this post.

Information on the issue from the Preservation Alliance:

NEW GAS METER REGULATIONS THREATEN HISTORIC PROPERTIES

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission has proposed changes to the way it regulates the installation of natural gas meters and other equipment—changes that could have a dramatic impact on the visual character of Philadelphia and other historic communities across the state.

Under the proposed new regulations, all gas meters and pressure regulators would be installed on the outside of customer’s properties, and interior meters (which are very common in older and historic rowhouse neighborhoods) would be relocated to the exterior within the next ten years.  Placement of the new equipment would be at the sole discretion of the utility company, with little warning or consultation with property owners. The proposed new regulations include certain exemptions for historic properties, but the language used is vague and potentially ineffective.  Unless these proposed regulations are revised, thousands of historic structures could be adversely impacted.

Click here to read more about the issue

Queen Village Neighbors Association has submitted a letter of concern and if you are also concerned, WE URGE YOU TO SEND A SUPPORTING EMAIL TO THE PRESERVATION ALLIANCE.  For your convenience, we have provided you this boilerplate message that you can cut and paste into the email to the Preservation Alliance. Feel free to add your personal comments.
SUGGESTED EMAIL TO SEND TO THE PRESERVATION ALLIANCE

To: advocacy@preservationalliance.com
Subject: Gas Meter Regulations

To whom it may concern:

Please accept this statement of support for the Preservation Alliance’s comments on the proposed changes to 52 Pa. Code § 59.18 pertaining to meter set location (Docket No. L-2009-2107155). I believe that, absent the Preservation Alliance’s proposed changes, the historic integrity and visual character of Philadelphia and other communities across the state will be unnecessarily diminished by these new regulations.

Thank you.

[Name]
[Address]

Posted by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.