AmeriGas commits more resources to county
A week after citizens complained to the Gunnison County commissioners that AmeriGas had left them out in the cold, the situation appears to be improving. Officials say this week that AmeriGas propane customers in Gunnison County in need have received emergency fill-ups and the company is working to make sure no one else runs out of gas.
The county commissioners met with AmeriGas representatives, along with officials from the Colorado State Patrol and Governor Bill Ritter’s office on Saturday, January 26 to discuss the situation. The state agreed to temporarily lift restrictions on truck drivers to allow AmeriGas to get propane supplies to Gunnison County quickly and subsequently deliver the gas.
“It allows them to operate beyond the hour restriction so they could get more fuel to the Western Slope,” county manager Matthew Birnie says. The order was signed by Colorado State Patrol chief Mark Trostel on January 25.
Commissioner Paula Swenson says she’s pleased by the actions taken by the county, state and AmeriGas. “It was good that we could all get together and get proactive and take care of our citizens,” she says. “That was the primary source of concern—citizens with no heat or getting close to having no heat.”
Last week, several citizens appealed to the Gunnison County commissioners during their regular meeting, saying AmeriGas had allowed them to run out of propane—sometimes in the middle of the night in sub-zero temperatures.
Gunnison County’s sole propane gas provider is AmeriGas, after the company merged with its competitor AllStar in August 2007. AmeriGas Partners, L.P. is the nation’s largest retail propane marketer, serving nearly one million customers from sales and service locations in 46 states. It’s traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
In response, the county contacted the company and various state agencies. “It is a serious situation,” says Birnie. “It looks like they’ve put the resources behind it to get this situation resolved… We’ve gotten reports that lots of folks who have been struggling to get service now have tanks that are full.”
On Tuesday, January 29, AmeriGas representatives issued a letter addressed to its customers apologizing for service shortfalls. The company stated it has addressed its supply issues, brought in additional delivery staff and is working to ensure that customer data is correct after its merger with All Star Propane last year.
Citizens who are still experiencing problems attaining propane gas service are asked to call (970) 641-1571.