In a crackdown that began after the deadly 2015 gas explosion in the East Village, the city has issued more than 2,600 violations for illegal gas lines — leaving thousands without cooking gas in their apartments.
The city Department of Buildings violations have led to more than 1,000 gas shutdowns throughout the city.
“Many buildings are not passing gas-pressure tests, so the gas is being shut down until they do,” said a lawyer who represents residents suing their landlords after the shutoffs.
Kai Ravelson, 34, is part of the collateral damage. She’s been without cooking gas for 10 months.
Ravelson, a hairstylist who works on Broadway shows, said Con Edison refused to turn on her gas after she signed a contract on a one-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights in November 2016.
Ravelson had not even moved in when the utility declared that she had a gas leak on her floor and that she needed to evacuate the apartment. Ravelson continued to pay rent, and her repeated entreaties to both Con Edison and her landlord went unanswered for months, she said.
“It’s been shocking to go through this ordeal of trying to have a very simple and essential amenity repaired with very little concern or empathy from anyone for my quality of living,” Ravelson said.
Last month, after The Post began to inquire about her situation, Ravelson received word from Con Edison that the gas would be turned on, but only following work by a licensed plumber to fix a gas leak in the prewar building and after vetting of the work by both the utility and the city.
“If a building is turned off due to a leak . . . it is up to the building owner or other responsible party to hire a contractor and make repairs,” said a spokesman for Con Edison, who refused comment on specific buildings in the city. “The contractor must then get a certification from the . . . Department of Buildings and submit certain paperwork. At that point, we conduct a pressure test. If the piping holds without leaks, gas can be turned back on.”
Timothy Hogan, the DOB’s deputy commissioner for enforcement, said that “people have become more vigilant” after the Second Avenue explosion, which killed two people and leveled two buildings when landlord Maria Hrynenko and her son, Michael, allegedly hired contractors to illegally tap into a gas main.
In the year before the explosion, the city issued only 586 violations for illegal gas work.
“We all need to be more cognizant because illegal gas work is dangerous,” Hogan said. He added his department has hired 25 more gas inspectors and is working with Con Edison to help streamline the process of ensuring safer conditions and getting the gas turned back on in affected buildings.