Jemena to fix Darlinghurst gas problem after residents spend weeks in "dark ages"

Bucket baths, camp stove cooking and no heating — life in Darlinghurst never looked so glum.

About 20 homes on Barcom Ave have been without gas for three weeks after the 90-year-old underground line servicing their properties sprung a leak.

But relief is on the way after gas network owner Jemena agreed to fix the problem at no charge to residents.

Supply was shut off for safety reasons when the leak was found on October 4, leaving residents locked in a stalemate with Jemena over a repair bill estimated at up to $80,000.

The company said the leak occurred under a privately owned laneway and was the responsibility of residents.

“We’ve mainly been cooking on camp stoves in the backyard, going to friends’ places and having bucket baths,” said resident Tom Carment. “We’re lucky it’s not winter, we’ve got gas heating as well.

“And my daughter is trying to do the HSC.”

Residents who relied on gas for hot water, cooking and heating were the worst hit.

But after a series of complaints to the Energy and Water Ombudsman Jemena has agreed to fix the problem by running a nylon pipe through the old gas line and reconnecting the effected homes.

“We began work (Tuesday) to restore gas to all residents by installing a new pipe down Oswald Lane,” the company said in a statement.

“It will take about three to four days to complete, with some residents reconnected to gas from (Wednesday). There will be no financial cost to residents.”

The company had said Oswald Lane where the damage occurred fell into the ownership of two private land titles some time before 1990. It claimed its responsibilities ended at a gas regulator on the property boundary.

“Everything beyond the regulator, including the section of the pipe that needs to be repaired, is the responsibility of the property owner,” the company said.

“A senior technician for Jemena provided additional advice with alternative repair methods ... Jemena has, and will continue, to work with the residents to find the most safe, cost effective and efficient solution.”

Originally published in the Wentworth Courier on 27 October, 2016
Written by Nick Hansen