Examination of the gas meter: is it possible to order an independent audit and challenge the accrued fine

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Kristina Skoritskaya
Last update: December 2019

Interaction with inspection bodies is often difficult to call a pleasant event. And even a standard inspection of the meter by gas service workers can result in excruciating paperwork or even a fine. Do you agree?

Increasingly, there are cases in which representatives of gorgaz make unfair decisions, obliging subscribers to pay an impressive amount of recovery. It is in such situations that the user may need the expertise of a gas meter performed by an independent accredited entity. The opinion issued by the expert may be the only confirmation of the integrity of the subscriber and prove the groundlessness of the claims of the gas service.

In this article we will talk about where to do an unscheduled examination of a flow meter, how to challenge the actions of a service provider and get rid of a fine.

The need for an independent examination

A gas meter, like any other meter, must periodically undergo a scheduled inspection. In addition to the current survey, an unscheduled one is also planned, which must be carried out before commissioning new gas equipment or after repairing previously installed equipment.

During the operation check, the metering device is inspected for external interference and damage, the integrity of the factory and seals installed. Additionally, the survey can reveal the effects of various devices, allowing you to adjust the real indicators of fuel consumption in favor of the subscriber.

In order to confirm the meter’s serviceability and make sure that the gas meter is correct, the device is dismantled by a service representative and sent for an official check, about which a corresponding act is drawn up.

Gas meter in the apartment
Some types of gas meters can be tested at home without dismantling.For the examination of such devices, special mobile diagnostic devices are used.

Alas, but inspection without dismantling household meter may not pass. And the identification of any other violations during the initial inspection may even lead to unscrupulous subscribers undesirable sanctions.

An independent technical and metrological examination helps to assert their rights and challenge the actions of gas workers.

During the survey, the user will be able to prove the most important facts confirming his innocence of the violations:

  • lack of extraneous interference in the design of the accounting device;
  • the health of the counter and the correctness of the data it provides.

Experts can additionally conduct research on the effect of a magnetic field on a device and determine the level of residual magnetization. A conclusion of this kind can be the main evidence that the subscriber did not try to influence the meter from the outside for selfish purposes.

The results of the examination can be used both in pre-trial and judicial disputes. In some situations, a specialist’s opinion helps not to start a lawsuit at all and immediately challenge the actions of a gas distribution organization. So, for example, if the user has a suspicion that counter shakes a lot - fixes an unjustifiably large number of consumed cubic meters of gas. This may be the reason for an independent examination, the results of which will help to immediately challenge the unreasonably large amount of charges.

Gas meter calibration
In the case of attracting specialists to conduct an independent expert examination of the meter if it is suspected that it shakes a lot, as in other cases, the subscriber will have to pay for their services at his own expense

Acts provided by an expert organization are significant evidence in court and can be considered by regulatory or law enforcement authorities in the process of resolving disputes between a service organization or service provider and the end user.

Who can conduct an alternative examination?

Now let's talk about where you can make an unscheduled examination of a gas meter. So, the implementation of an independent examination of a domestic gas meter can only be carried out by organizations that have permission to provide such services. They conduct both visual diagnostics of the device and a bench test of the meter using special equipment. Such measures allow us to determine the ability of the node to take into account the amount of fuel consumed within the margin of error.

Option # 1 - Center for Standardization and Metrology

An objective meter evaluation can be ordered at the nearest standardization and metrology center.

Often this is a federal budget organization, but the user will have to pay for its services on their own.

Option # 2 - gas meter manufacturer

In some cases, the subscriber can formally contact directly the representatives of the manufacturer who issued the meter. To do this, you need to send a request letter, after approval of which you can provide the node for verification.

Checking the gas meter at the factory
Specialists from the manufacturer’s staff will be able to officially confirm or refute certain facts regarding the condition and functioning of the metering device

However, such an assessment can take an extremely long time and be unprofitable in terms of costs.

Option # 3 - private company with special access

In addition to the state supervisor and the manufacturer, private firms that have the appropriate license and approval can also conduct an examination.

In almost every major city, there are special centers that help consumers to verify the health of the meter.

How to challenge sanctions accrued by gorgaz?

First of all, you need to be prepared for the fact that you can’t do without the help of a qualified lawyer specializing in such cases. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for contesting offenses by the gas supplier, since, from the point of view of legal practice, each case is unique and requires an individual approach.

Many subscribers who find themselves in a difficult situation are scared of the potential costs associated with paying for the services of a lawyer and an independent expert evaluating the meter. A significant amount may cost the legal costs themselves. However, with a positive court decision in favor of the end consumer, all these expenses can be compensated for by the gas distribution company, which will be the defendant in the case. It is only necessary to advance these requirements in a statement of claim.

It is additionally important to understand that the signing by the subscriber of the act on any work or on the detection of damage on the meter is considered as the consent of the user with the facts described in the document.

The subscriber studies the act from the gas service before signing
Therefore, before signing any papers, you should carefully read their contents and, if inconsistencies are identified, write about your disagreement with the information contained in the document

Often, all disputes with a gas supplier are resolved in court. However, it must be understood that the act itself is not in dispute in this instance. It only officially confirms the incident and the recorded fact of the offense.

In simple words, the act is an argument in favor of the company providing the fuel, and the result of an independent expert examination of the meter is an appealing argument on the part of the consumer. Therefore, in order to apply to the court, in addition to a well-written statement of claim, it is necessary to obtain written explanations from the gas supplier. In each individual situation, these can be completely different documents.

For example, if you are trying to challenge a large amount of a surcharge for the use of fuel that was billed for the period of the last 6 months before the day of the violation, it is necessary to require the supplier to decrypt the announced amount and explain on what basis the recalculation was made. The received document can already be attached to the statement of claim, as it covers the actions of the supplier, which may be unlawful.

If gorgaz refuses to provide a decryption, you can re-request the document by writing a statement on the recalculation of debt. It must be made in duplicate, one of which must remain with the subscriber. On a copy of the user, the representative of the gas distribution company is obliged to fix the date of receipt of the application. Over the next ten days, the supplier is obliged to send a detailed answer to the consumer.

Drawing up a written complaint to gorgaz
Until the case comes to trial, it is important to submit your claims to the gorgaz in writing. The official response of the company can be used as evidence in court

If the supplier does not respond to the statements or continues to act inappropriately, it is appropriate to file the appropriate complaints with the local housing inspection, Rospotrebnadzor or even the prosecutor's office.

However, the decisive word will be the court, which, based on the results of an independent examination of the gas meter, will be able to cancel the collection of the fine and oblige the gas distribution company to re-calculate the debt.

We also recommend that you familiarize yourself with what are gas meter fines, with the reasons for their imposition and amounts of penalties.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

In the video below, a representative of an organization that provides services for the examination of metering devices examines in detail a real and fairly common situation in which an independent assessment of the state and operation of a gas meter may be required:

The author of the following video shares his opinion on the advisability of buying a new meter or checking an old device:

A detailed disassembly of the gas meter, which did not pass the planned calibration, is shown by the master. The specialist is considering ways that unscrupulous testers can use to make the accounting node unusable:

A competent approach and legal knowledge helps the subscriber in most disputed situations. Having on hand the results of an independent examination, the consumer can safely defend his interests and hope for a fair court decision. But it is important for each owner of metering devices to personally monitor the progress of the meter inspection and not to sign acts of dubious content. Persistence, knowledge and understanding of the law will save from the arbitrariness of the supplier and will not allow you to receive a potential fine.

You still have questions about conducting an independent examination or want to supplement the above information with useful information and facts? You can ask our experts questions and express your opinion in the comments section below this article.

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