CBS 5 Advocate

Homeowners responsible to know about second gas lines on property

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Mike Kendrick had a gas line he didn't know about. (Source: CBS 5 News) Mike Kendrick had a gas line he didn't know about. (Source: CBS 5 News)
An oversized meter is one clue that you may have a second gas line. (Source: CBS 5 News) An oversized meter is one clue that you may have a second gas line. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Regular meters with one gas line, like this one, are smaller. (Source: CBS 5 News) Regular meters with one gas line, like this one, are smaller. (Source: CBS 5 News)
GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

As a homeowner, you know if you have gas at your house, but do you know the number of service lines at the property?

You likely have a main gas line that services your furnace, water heater and maybe a fireplace, but it's possible you have a second line. If you don't know about it, and it leaks, you would be in a dangerous situation and possibly get hit with a massive bill.

Mike Kendrick says Southwest Gas (SWG) showed up at his Gilbert home recently claiming there was a gas leak. After an inspection, Kendrick says the SWG rep told him the leak was outside.

"He said, 'You've got some extra gas lines. I can see a line coming out that isn't normal to this house. There's a separate gas line that runs to your backyard,'" Kendrick said.

Kendrick says he's owned the home since 2009 and never knew about the second gas line or what it may have been used for. It was capped underground but not at the meter. It was filled with gas and leaking badly. SWG removed the gas and permanently fixed the problem but Kendrick says they should have done more.

"They should have notified me as a homeowner when they first turned on my gas in 2009 that I had a separate line running under the ground that went to nowhere," Kendrick said.

SWG says they're not responsible for customer-owned gas lines; they don't notify customers about them or arbitrarily cap them. The faulty second line generated a $4,600 bill.

"There was no way they would take any money off. It was on my side of the meter, it's my responsibility as the homeowner," Kendrick said.

An oversized meter is one clue you have a second line; regular meters are smaller.  A detached line going into the ground is another clue. A licensed contractor can tell you for sure.  It was a lesson learned too late for Kendrick.

"I understand that's it's on my side of the meter but this is a line I didn't even know existed," Kendrick said.

The point here is you, the homeowner, are responsible to know - not the gas company.

If a line is capped underground but not at the meter, and it's leaking, gas will continually flow into it, and that puts you at risk.

After we got involved, Kendrick says SWG agreed to wipe out the entire bill - something they didn't have to do. CBS 5 News appreciates the gesture from SWG and the help they provided so we could educate consumers about the dangers of unknown second gas lines.

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