Cooking gas

Another pro in favour of piped gas

11:48 AM


I mentioned it in passing, but many of the newer building sin Mumbai have piped gas, and for a tenant renting a flat in which the owner did subscribe to the service and installed a meter this makes things much easier in the beginning as it is just a matter of opening the valve (if the previous tenant did think of closing it) after you connected your stove to the pipe.
Gone are the lengthy procedure of registering for a cylinder at a government subsidised company, or the hassle of explaining you want a transfer of address to them. Gone the arguing on no end for them to deliver the 2nd cylinder you paid for in the subscription…and goodbye to weeks of waiting to get a refill (yes weeks! That happened to us several time in Bangalore before we got fed up and shifter to an independent supplier).
In Navi Mumbai we were without cooking gas for close to 3 weeks if I remember well enough, and there is only that much you can cook on a temperamental hot plate, especially in pots and pans that have been designed to work on a gas stove to begin with (yes there is a difference).
When we moved back to Mumbai we were happy to know that this time it would be piped gas, the only glitch we had was that our old stove needed to be serviced as the pressure in the pipe is different from when you connect the stove to a cylinder and no gas was reaching the burner, but that was just a matter of handing 100 rupees to the maid and ask her to bring the stove to a shop that did service them, 8 hours later the stove was operational.
Since then we had zero problem, the bill comes in the mailbox every 3 months, and it cost us around 500 per trimester. And because it’s a continuous supply, we no longer have to dread running out of gas in the middle of cooking a meal anymore.

So what is this new “pro” to having piped gas? Well believe it or not it is response in case of emergency.
For the past few days both the maid and DH kept reporting that there was sudden wave of gas smell in our hallway coming from the window in Ishita’s room, I smelled it faintly on occasion, but no where did it seem to leak in our own apartment and we could not pinpoint from where it came from outside, for all we knew the smell could come from a nearby construction site, because they use chemicals every now and then that send some odd smell our way with the breeze.
This morning however the maid told me that we have to find a way to alert the people living downstairs because she was sure the smell came from there and it was stronger than usual. Again it came from the window in Ishita’s room and not from the kitchen, so I followed my own sniffer there and by the time I was on the balcony I heard a hissing sound of something escaping from a pipe indeed…the thing however was that the sound in question didn’t come from downstairs where the flat is fully occupied and people would have noticed, it came from one floor above us, and the reason the smell was more powerful in Ishi’s room was that the pipe is mounted on the wall closer to the bedroom than to the kitchen.
I woke up DH and told him to come listen to that sound and sure enough the breeze brought us a nose full of the gas smell to go with the sound so DH ran downstairs to alert the security guard in the lobby, who explained that the flat above us is vacant and that they don’t have the spare key to open and check, so they came in our place to see if they could see something on the pipe, heard the hissing, smelled the foul odour and decided to ask to have access to the balcony on the floor above the vacant flat to see if they could see better from there.
Sure enough the flexible steel connector pipe that connects the whole meter unit to the main pipe was leaking, and the main valve was opened (whoever lived there before never bothered shutting it down before vacating the place).
Since the security staff doesn’t have the authority to enter a flat by all means, they called the gas company immediately, 30 minutes later they came in with their truck, and somehow got into the flat in question and fixed the pipe and closed the input valve to prevent anymore accidents that would take days or weeks to notice.
Fortunately, all the pipes run outside the building, and the segment of pipe that runs inside the kitchen to the stove is in one segment without connectors that could leak, all the potential leak points are outdoor which makes it much safer in case of a defect in one of the connector limiting the risk of severe accidents considerably. The leak that just got fixed upstairs probably went on for over a week or so but due to the gas being expelled in the open air the risk of something bad happening was minimal, and the other fortunate fact is that the gas company supplying us put a strong smelling agent in the gas itself to alert people something is happening, I don’t think remember the gas on any of the cylinders I had over the years smelling that strong as to be picked up one floor down from the leak itself, granted it was faint at first, but still noticeable.

What I find funny in the light of all this is that despite the convenience of piped gas, and the safety of it, there are still many people in our society and enclave, that refused to take a connection and have no meter connected to the main and still have cylinders from Indane or HP gas delivered. I had on two occasion a problem with a faulty regulator in Bangalore, and because our supplier was a local independent one he came quickly to change the rubber seal, but considering the lack of service we had with HP gas in the past I am not so sure they would have come that fast to change a seal. The way I see it they would have told us along the line of “Remove the regulator from the cylinder and don’t use it until someone comes” failing to add that the someone could never show up, or come days later (the someone that delivered the full cylinders took weeks to do so after all).
Beside I don’t think I ever heard of a gas leak accident that involved piped gas, but I read about quite a few happening with faulty cylinders that lead to death and massive destruction of property.

So all in all, I’m happy to have piped gas and now knowing that response of the company in case of emergencies is fast.

6 comments

  1. The one thing we regret not having in our apartment was piped gas connection and metering for water. Considering it is a well known builder, it was surprising he did not think about either of these. Luckily the gas supplier here has been very prompt, but still it means one of us have to be home to receive the cylinders.


    Good to know that the response to such SOS calls is quick. I guess the piped gas connection offers quite some bit of convenience.

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  2. Oh dear! I forgot the whole having to be home at all time not to miss the guy that will deliver the new cylinder...it was so annoying, especially when you have no idea when they will decide to show up in the first place, it's like the expect every house in the country has at least one person in it at all time, a lot of delivery company and courriers sadly think the same :-(

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  3. Until sometime ago, they were not willing to call up and confirm before coming home. Of late they are kind enough to do that. Even if they turn up without notice, they try to come again after couple of days.

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  4. yeah they didn't call up before coming when we were with HP gas many years ago. It was inevitably us calling them only to have them say "But he came 5 days ago and you were not here"...did it even occur to them to leave a note, or call us to check if they could come later....nooooo!

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  5. vinod8:21 AM

    ahhh i did not knew that piped gas has come to India! So much change in four year! Good to know that.

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  6. Well it's not in all cities, the first time I saw piped gas was in 2011 right after we left Navi Mumbai when we dropped at a relatives place for lunch in Pune on the way back to Bangalore.
    I heard newly constructed buildings in Mumbai are leaning toward the piped gas system, but old buildings aren't connected yet. In my area it seems the supply pipes run underground until they reach a building at whcih point the pipes are running on the outside wall of the buildings.
    In my relative's flat in Pune the meter and regulator were inside her kitchen, but in my building the only thing that is inside is a seamless connection pipe, all seals and joints that could leak are ont he balcony to prevent a disaster should a gas leak go unnoticed.
    The buildings that have piped gas are easy to notice for most, they have the pipes painted in the internationnal yellow color coding for gas running on the outside near to the kitchen windows.

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