Discussion: Red Tags

Anyone ever been “red tagged?” VNG is apparently required to contract a company to randomly check homes for gas leaks. They found one leaking from behind my meter (my side, of course).

So they’re then required to shut off gas to the house until you can demonstrate that the leak has been repaired. Fine, makes sense. *However* they also alert the city, so now there are permits and inspections involved before I can get my gas turned back on. So what would have cost me a trip to Home Depot and about 30 minutes under the house, will now cost me several hundred dollars, some headaches, and a few days of cold showers.

The Libertarians are right; I’m one of them now.

19 thoughts on “Discussion: Red Tags

  1. Yeah, it usually takes a boot on one’s neck to see the light.

    As though the city is more interested in you not having your house blow up than you are, and knows your capabilities better than you do.

    The thing is that the boot is always on your neck, just sometimes it is soft enough you don’t notice it, or worse, you have come to find it comforting.


      1. Even given that, it still would be a matter best handled between you and the gas company. Simply hold the gas company liable for selling you gas if your plumbing isn’t up to standards. But there is no reason to bring a third party in unless there are damages.


          1. Nope.

            The standards would be set by the gas company’s liability insurer, who is at risk if the standards are not stringent enough in court, and at risk of losing business to another insurer if they are unrealistic.

            Because costs of liability are so high, they will, by default, be adequate, without being uselessly restrictive.

            There are very few things the government can do better than the private sector.


          2. There’s no court when you get into a legal dispute with huge companies. Usually there are arbitration clauses and you waive any rights to be part of a class action suit. So you go to arbitration, and the arbitrator is hired by VNG. And guess how that goes for the consumer?

            This isn’t a devil’s advocate scenario–this is how it works when companies are allowed to police themselves.

            For all the (often) correct talk about boots on necks, you never seem concerned with private tyranny.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Consider that the very successful model for what I propose has been in place and working quite well for over 100 years.

            When is the last time you heard of someone being injured by a toaster?

            Appliance makers and their liability insurers created Underwriters Laboratory in 1894 to create and enforce standards for their products. We have become complacent about it because it works so well, but I remember my father turning a radio upside down in a store to check for the UL seal before buying one.

            The system works so well that no retailer would consider placing a product on their shelves lacking that seal.

            There is no reason the same approach would not work for almost all products and services.


          4. No. OSHA is workplace safety. UL is entirely private and voluntary, yet is nearly universally accepted.

            It does overlap with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but the CPSC is uselessly redundant in those areas of overlap.


          1. The warning is very brief, but in about a dozen languages.

            Ever notice an instruction manual for a small appliance? Most of those caveats are the result of litigation not just the mind of a bureaucrat. And the lawyers for the company told them what and how to say them.

            The classic for an iron is to not iron clothing while wearing them. The result of a lawsuit probably.

            When I shot photos for Stihl’s brochures, ads, etc., we actually had one or more people from the legal department on site to approve every shot. The correct safety equipment had to be worn and visible and properly used. Even a “beauty” shot of just the chainsaw resting on a stump had to have gloves, goggles, etc., in the shot. Not because the government said so, but insurance and lawyers did.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. If you were more interested than the city in having a safe home, then you would not have been red flagged. You would pay to have someone inspect your gas lines on a regular schedule. Or you would call the gas company at the first smell of gas.

      UL doesn’t do much after the purchase. What would they do in this case? You would still have the gas cut off until repairs have been made. They would still want to inspect after the repair if they are underwriting the safety. And if an insurance company other than UL were responsible, they would require periodic inspections. And who would pay for that?

      The advantage of government permitting and licensing (such as doctors, etc.,) is that it is a matter of law. With private insurance underwriting, liability is a matter of civil torts. And that means courts, lawyers, expenses and months or years of litigation unless settled.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. UPDATE: It’s going to cost $6-700 because the plumber has get a permit, do the work, then be present when the city inspects it. Only then will VNG turn my gas back on.

    The plumber said it’s a nice grift the cities run in exchange for some leniency for VNG. He said, “if you put enough pressure through anyone’s lines (how they test) a leak will show up somewhere. It was just your turn.”

    Liked by 1 person

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