Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.328-A/A.5830-A) making the installation of a gas meter without a permit a class B misdemeanor with the potential for up to a year in prison. The legislation was passed in response to utility company employees taking advantage of consumers by installing gas meters without the knowledge of their companies, as well as the potential safety hazards of unlawfully installed gas meters. In 2015, a faulty gas meter was involved in a gas explosion on the East Side of Manhattan, killing two and injuring 19.

“New Yorkers are getting back on their feet from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing they need during this difficult economic time is to be swindled by fake gas meters installed without utility companies’ knowledge,” Governor Cuomo said. “Consumers have enough to worry about, and this legislation allows the state to charge rogue utility employees with a crime—and potentially send them to jail—for taking advantage of them. We continue to take every possible action to hold utility companies to account for the services they provide to New Yorkers, and this legislation takes us a step closer to that goal.”

Gas meters are considered unlawfully installed if they are installed by anyone other than a person acting on behalf of a utility company regulated by the New York State Public Service Commission unless that person has received a permit from the appropriate authority.

Unlawfully installed gas meters can also be potential safety hazards because they do not always conform to the regulations and codes used to prevent accidents or injury. They often use nonstandard materials such as plastic flex piping. Plastic flex piping is cheaper but unsafe and has been involved in gas explosions, such as the one that occurred in Manhattan’s East Village in 2015.