My HVAC friend, my dad and myself installed new gas pipes in my house after the 40 y/o pipe started leaking. Suffice to say, the old pipe was beyond repair, every retightening of the pipe resulted in the next elbow becoming lose to the point, I would be tearing out drywall, air ducts and possibly beams to access it. So we ran new pipe.
We got the permit, had the county do the inspection. It passed, and we had Xcel (electric and gas utilities) come out and replaced the meter which was also old and leaking, and turn on the gas.
The setup passed inspection with a larger than needed ground wire going from the black pipe, near the meter, to a grounding pole going 5 feet underground. Xcel comes out today to replace the meter and hook up the gas and says my grounding wire cannot be there, that it will ruin the meter and rust the pipe where the wire clamps to the pipe and that a small current runs from my appliances to the meter. There is about 9 combined feet of pipe exposed outside, from the meter to where the pipe enters the house. I asked, what if lightning strikes the pipe and the Xcel guy says "Lightning will hit another part of the house first." So I call my HVAC, ask his opinion, I talk to a retired Master PLumber at Home Depot, and the county Fire Marshall and they all agree that it should be grounded. Oddly enough the Fire Marshall comments, "even if lightning hits the pipe, nothing will happen".
Remember, this is a black iron pipe installation, not CGGT. It is black iron pipe all the way from the meter to the room with the water heater and furnace. From the black pipe, a yellow flex pipe goes to the water heater, and a stainless steel flex pipe goes to the furnace.
So the plumbers and county is saying something different than Xcel. Should the pipe be grounded? Is bonding at the furnace enough?
Can I put a thin layer of something between the clamp and the black pipe? Foam, thin plastic, wax paper? The Fire Marshall suggested dirt ?!?