Landlord wants to replace gas oven with electric. Help?
March 22, 2014 10:11 AM   Subscribe

We have enjoyed 6+ years of our gas oven/stovetop, but now our NYC landlord is planning to replace all the ovens in our building with electric. This seems like it will make our (already high) electricity bill even higher. Is there anything we can do?

Last week Con Ed shut down all our gas for repairs; we lost heat and hot water for a couple days and then they came back. However, our landlord informed us:
"...some lines running from the apartment gas meters to the stoves would not hold 100% under high pressure. Con Edison will not restore service unless an extensive repiping job is done, which could take months and be very disruptive.

Therefore, we have decided to replace the stoves building-wide with high end electric models. This can be done more efficiently with respect to time, disruption, and safety."
I understand that an "extensive repiping" could be really disruptive, but right now it feels like, instead of repairing the gas infrastructure in our building, the landlord will be passing that cost onto us in higher electricity bills (not to mention slow, sad electric stovetops). Gas has always been stunningly cheap, whereas our electricity in NYC is very expensive per kilowatt-hour.

Is there anything we can do? Am I overreacting? It feels like our landlord is taking the easy way out here.
posted by Zephyrial to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not sure if this is quite relevant or not, but this case said the landlord can make the switch: Seems like you'd need to ask a lawyer. But really, having a huge construction project sounds like much more of a pain. And electric is clearly safer...
posted by three_red_balloons at 10:27 AM on March 22, 2014

You could offer to replace your own line yourself and see if they go for it. You'd have to do a lot of cooking for the cost to break even though.

I understand why you're frustrated but suspect I would make the same choice in your landlord's shoes.
posted by metasarah at 10:36 AM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have read claims that increasing production and use of natural gas as an alternative fuel is expected to introduce lots of volatility into its price in coming years, so if that's true your cost for it might not necessarily remain low anyway.
posted by XMLicious at 10:42 AM on March 22, 2014

For what it's worth, we moved from a gas to electric stove when we moved last year, to my first electric stove in 15 years, and I'm shockingly pleased. The cost difference is negligible in our case, and the electric actually... works really well. I had to adjust to how the burners behave, but it wasn't a huge change all things considered. Our electric is probably low-medium end, so if they're truly giving you high-end models, or even something close to it, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.
posted by The Michael The at 10:49 AM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I suspect that, were he to replace the gas lines/piping, he would also pass THAT cost along to you.... I think you may be overreacting here. The only way to have complete control over these matters is to own your own home.
posted by HuronBob at 10:51 AM on March 22, 2014 [12 favorites]

Of course the landlord is taking the easy way out here, it makes perfect sense for him. You are free to move to another apartment at the end of your lease if having an electric stove is a priority for you.
posted by lydhre at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2014

a propane burner is cheap and takes up about a square foot of your countertop.
posted by bruce at 11:30 AM on March 22, 2014

Best answer: Agree your landlord is taking the easy way out, but I doubt the electric stove will contribute much to your electricity bill. I've lived in similarly-sized places with electric stoves and with gas stoves, and the difference in the electricity bill was too small to notice. If I had to bet I'd guess the difference in your electric bill will be less than $100 a year (and presumably your gas bill will go down a smidge as well).

(If you weren't paying for the stove gas before, I guess you might be able to argue that your landlord should knock $10 a month off of your rent for cooking expenses, but I wouldn't bother.)
posted by mskyle at 11:51 AM on March 22, 2014

Best answer: Repiping is no joke. At all. ConEd is making this decision for your safety, and your landlord is making this decision because it is logistically most feasible for your building.

- former gas person at a utility
posted by samthemander at 1:10 PM on March 22, 2014 [7 favorites]

Electric stovetops are pretty amazing these days compared to how they used to be.

Unless you do all day cooking projects like bean soups from scratch the electric bill should not be much.
posted by yohko at 4:10 PM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can't speak to your concerns about the cost, but Julia Child made a point of doing *everything* on her show on both gas and electric. Once you get used to it, you can do anything on electric you can do on gas. And as Yohko mentions, electric stoves are *way* better now than they used to be.
posted by colin_l at 4:18 PM on March 22, 2014

Electric ovens are really wonderful. Electric cooktops are meh.
Gas ovens are meh. Gas cooktops are really wonderful.

It depends on how you cook. I've found halogen (electric) cooktops nearly as wonderful as gas, so you have that going for you.
posted by jet_silver at 9:58 PM on March 22, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers, everybody. I've marked a few as best but they were all helpful. We're crossing our fingers that we get a good electric oven and it's encouraging to hear some of you have had good experiences with them. (Hopefully all the ones I remember having were just crummy models.) Thanks!
posted by Zephyrial at 7:15 AM on March 23, 2014

Best answer: Perhaps one thing you can do is transmit your concerns to the landlord and see if you can get them to buy a 'good' electric stove -- whatever that means. So if you want specific features (ensuring that there's a high BTU burner, etc) -- ask.
posted by bsdfish at 8:43 AM on March 23, 2014

Looks like ConEd might be stepping up its maintenance/replacement schedule, in the wake of the Harlem explosion, and this may be related.
posted by timepiece at 7:49 AM on March 25, 2014

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