Washington Gas is installing ugly new and, obtrusive gas meters over the objection of homeowners. A loophole in the building permit law appears responsible.
The Historic Preservation Office has detailed guidelines on installing utility meters, requiring meters to be in unobtrusive locations. But HPO’s rules only apply if a building permit is required to install meters. The building code appears to exempt utilities, such as Washington Gas, from obtaining a building permit. 12A DCMR 105.2.3. Because Pepco uses private contractors, building permits are required for meters. (If meter installation requires ground disturbance, approval from DDOT and/or DCRA is necessary. 12A DCMR 105.2.5.) It appears that a change in the building code would be needed to require Washington Gas to obtain building permits to install meters.
Photos courtesy K. Diane Hoskins: