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On Monday, Y&H reported that Capital City Diner couldn’t even get Washington Gas to return a phone call. Today, e-mails co-owner Matt Ashburn, the gas company told Cap City that it will cost more than $5,600 to install an underground pipe from the main line to the diner in Trinidad. That’s cash that Ashburn and his business partner, Patrick Carl, don’t have.

“The odd thing is,” Ashburn writes to Y&H this afternoon, “they’re wanting to install a new buried gas line
underground from the main (in street) to the building. However, there already exists a gas pipe on the property, capped off from the house that was there years ago. It’s just as old as the other active pipes in the area, so I’m not sure why they don’t consider it, or even see it on their plans.”

What’s more, Ashburn believes there may be a rule that requires Washington Gas to estimate the amount of revenue that the new pipe will add to the company’s coffers over the next two years before it can plow ahead and charge a customer for a new line.

“In our case,” e-mails Ashburn, “it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where a restaurant operating over 100 hours/week (more than most) would not generate sufficient revenue within two years to offset the complete cost of installation.”

A Wash Gas representative was checking into Ashburn’s request, but Y&H also placed a call to the company. I’ll let you know what the gas folks say once they get back to me.