Dec. 10, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Cooking gas has finally been restored at an Astoria public housing complex after residents went without for nearly three months, officials said.
The restoration of the gas comes after months of protests and a rally in support of the tenants who lacked service.
Forty-eight units were without cooking gas at the Astoria Housing NYCHA development– located at 1-04 Astoria Blvd. – since Sept. 23. Service was finally restored Thursday morning.
During this time tenants had been unable to prepare hot meals, which they said was particularly troubling given the pandemic.
The resumption of service follows a collective effort by residents, activists and local lawmakers to get the gas line back up and running.
“While I am pleased these residents now have service restored, this whole episode represents an unacceptable failure from NYCHA. Rent-paying tenants deserve better,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said.
Gianaris, along with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Council Member Costa Constantinides, had been lobbying NYCHA to fix the problem since the gas line went down.
In October, all three lawmakers wrote separate letters to NYCHA Chair Greg Russ imploring the agency to restore the cooking gas in a timely manner. All 48 units that were without gas were in one building.
The agency said that a serious gas leak forced it to shut down the building’s main gas valve that consequently cut off the cooking gas. The heat and hot water, however, remained in service during the outage.
- NYCHA said that it was not an easy task to get the gas restored, saying that it involved a multi-pronged process. The agency said it had to determine what repairs were needed; get the necessary permits; make the actual repairs; get the units inspected by the city; and coordinate with the utility company in order for the gas to be safely turned back on.
- NYCHA had provided tenants with hot plates for cooking during the outage but Gianaris said that they were an insufficient substitute for gas stoves.
Gianaris said that the outage prompted him to introduce a bill last month that would provide NYCHA tenants with financial relief should their heat, hot water or gas go down in the future.
The NYCHA Utility Accountability Act would give tenants a 10 percent monthly rental reduction prorated based on the days of disruption.