Many Central Texans out of gas in extreme cold, Atmos urges customers to save

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amid extremely cold temperatures, several natural gas customers in central Texas reported low or no gas pressure on Friday morning.

The company Atmos Energy also issued a conservation alert.

Several people in the KXAN viewing area have sent emails reporting that they are having little or no gas pressure, leaving them without heat and other necessities in their homes.

“The ATMOS gas is having an ‘outage’ and appears to be over a large area. The gas line pressure is insufficient for most oven heaters and as a result it is not working,” wrote one person. “So while gas is on for stoves, it won’t work for pressure-sensitive furnace heaters. I have no idea the actual wait times, but I was put on hold for over 70 minutes on the ATMOS emergency line with no response.”

atmosphere tweeted On Friday morning, the customer service line is closed during the day and on Monday because of the public holiday. The tweet also said that if customers smell gas, they should leave the area and call 911 and Atmos’ 24/7 emergency hotline at (866) 322-8667. On Friday afternoon, the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas in the state, said Atmos’ call center is now open and has more help responding to customers.

KXAN reached out to Atmos early Friday morning to inquire about reports of an outage in gas service in the Austin-Round Rock area. The company responded that it is asking customers to save money due to the extreme temperatures and high use of natural gas, but did not specifically address the outage reports.

An Atmos spokesperson also said the company is experiencing high call volume and there may be significant wait times for customers who want to speak with an agent.

Atmos said that if it’s not an emergency or if you’re calling about the status of a previous order, it’s “working as quickly as possible to get a service technician to your home.”

If it’s an emergency, wait to speak with an agent.

The Railroad Commission said it is “aware of some localized low pressure issues due to extremely high demand in areas served by Atmos Energy, Mid-Tex Division”.

The Railroad Commission said Atmos is working to increase pressure on the system and respond to customers.

“Atmos Mid-Tex has reported that there are no gas supply problems on the system at the moment. The Commission remains in close communication with Atmos and will provide updates as soon as we receive them,” he wrote.

NBC 5 in Dallas is also reporting a conservation alert, and a newspaper in Plainview said Atmos personnel are investigating the outages that occurred in the area on Thursday.

Natural gas across the state

Texas pipelines are “reporting good pressure and plenty of storage capacity, even with some production dips,” the Texas Oil and Gas Association said in a statement on Friday morning. TXOGA is the state trade association for the industry.

He added that he had expected some reductions in production and they have, but there are no major issues. Some power issues “are being resolved quickly” and notified the Utilities Commission and the Texas Board of Electrical Reliability. He noted in 2022, all aspects of the natural gas process in Texas primed for increased production and storage, and many have taken steps to further improve the climate.

How to save gas

Atmos Energy shared the following tips:

  • Do not use your natural gas fireplace.
  • Lower the thermostat to at least 68 degrees. Consider wearing additional layers of clothing and lowering the thermostat even further.
  • Businesses should minimize energy use as much as possible.
  • Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees because it can account for up to 25% of the energy consumed in your home.
  • Unplug electronics and turn off lights that are not in use. By saving electricity, you also help save natural gas, which keeps the power on.
  • Reduce bath time and avoid showers. Bathing accounts for about 40% of your home’s hot water usage.
  • Avoid using large appliances such as a washer, dryer, oven, and dishwasher for the next few days. When in use, limit oven door opening to avoid wasting energy.
  • If you have a pool, don’t use the pool heater. Instead, run the pool pump during the coldest part of the day to circulate the water and prevent freezing.