BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Last weekend, 86 people were without heat because water had made its way into the gas lines on Buffalo’s east side.
Those homeowners’ heat has been restored but the harsh and inconsistent winter is continuing to cause issues for National Fuel and its customers.
More customers were without heat Thursday night, specifically on Loepere Street, and as of Friday afternoon there were 16 homes still without gas.
“What we are dealing with now is we continue to have the residual effects of water in the mains because there is moisture now in the system. What we will deal with now until the end of the heating season is that moisture sometimes travels to the outdoor meters,” National Fuel Director of Corporate Communications Karen Merkel said.
It’s no surprise that this came to a head Thursday night as temperatures in Buffalo dropped below zero.
“We have heating equipment that actually gets attached to the meters. We continue to work hard. Our priority is to get our customers back in service; we do not like to have our customers out of service,” said Merkel.
National Fuel said they are still investigating how water initially got into the lines but the focus right now is getting the water out of the system.
Merkel said while this isn’t typical, issues have come up before, specifically the winter of 2010 and 2011, which was the last time Buffalo saw over 100 inches of snow.
“The last two winters since, they have been so unseasonably warm and we didn’t have the snowfall, we didn’t experience as many issue as we are currently,” she explained.
National Fuel is also working to replace portions of their main gas line, which they had started before these problems popped up. The purpose is to increase the pressure of the system, which will then increase the reliability.