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Atmos Energy urges residents to save gas - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Atmos Energy is urging residents to conserve the use of natural gas during extreme winter temperatures to help maintain gas service.

Atmos Energy closely monitors the weather and dispatches its employees throughout the system.

During one of the coldest days of the season, many North Texans go nearly an entire day without heating in their homes. And some are reporting low natural gas pressure amid calls to save gas.

NBC 5 viewers in the Arlington, Benbrook, Frisco, Grand Prairie and South Fort Worth areas reported decreased gas pressure, with some without gas since Thursday night.

Amir Arien said he bought five heaters late Thursday night to keep his family warm. Friday afternoon they still had no hot water or heating.

“That’s our temperature right now. Up, 55. 63, down,” Arien said. “It’s like déjà vu with electricity in 2021.”

Arien’s younger brother, Khurram, lives next door. Khurram’s wife and their two-week-old son are staying with his in-laws.

“Home is literally when I checked…it was 57 degrees. With a newborn, I couldn’t,” he said. “I took my wife, went over there and slept with them all night.”

Suzette Lagray and her husband live in Grand Prairie. The heat in their home returned late Friday morning after being without heating downstairs for about 12 hours.

Lagray said while she was relieved that their gas pressure was back to normal, she would like to see better communication from Atmos Energy.

“I think it was quite frustrating, because at least with information…you can plan. Should I go out and buy heaters or what?” she explained. “Without any type of feedback or update, it makes things really difficult.”

Atmos Energy is urging residents to conserve the use of natural gas during extreme winter temperatures to help maintain gas service.

A spokesperson for Atmos Energy did not directly respond to our questions about the communication issues or the number of residents affected, but we are told in an email:

Please let your audience know that we are experiencing a high call volume due to colder than normal temperatures and there may be a significant wait time to speak to an agent. If it is not an emergency or if they are calling about the status of a previous order, we work as quickly as possible to get a service technician to their home. If this is an emergency, please wait and an agent will respond to their call as soon as possible.”

The North Richland Hills Center and NRH Library closed on Friday after low gas pressure affected those facilities.

WHERE TO GO IF YOU’RE COLD

The City of Arlington opened the Beacon Recreation Center at 1100 Mansfield Webb Road as a temporary warming center in response to insufficient natural gas pressure in the community of Deer Valley Lane and surrounding areas in South Arlington.

The North Richland Hills Baptist Church Wellness Center was a warming station for residents, but it was closed. Residents in need of shelter should call the NRH Public Safety Dispatcher at 817-281-1000.

The Texas Department of Emergency Management has launched its Map of Warming Centers to help Texans find somewhere to go if they need to stay warm during dangerously cold temperatures.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RESTORE THE HEAT?

At around 11:30 a.m., Atmos tweeted that there would be “significant wait time” as they were experiencing high call volume.

The Railroad Commission of Texas released a statement Friday afternoon stating:

“The Board of Railroads is aware of some localized low pressure issues due to extremely high demand in areas served by Atmos Energy, Mid-Tex Division. Atmos is working to increase pressure in the system and continue to process tickets for customers who are experiencing low-pressure issues. Atmos Customer Call Center is open. Additional resources have been added to manage call volumes and work tickets from customers. close communication with Atmos and will provide updates as we receive them.”

In a now-deleted post on its Facebook page, Atmos posted Friday morning that customer service lines were closed for Friday, December 21. 23 and Monday 23 Dec. 26 stating: “Our customer service lines are closed today December 23 and Monday December 26. Our emergency line 866.322.8667 continues to operate 24/7.”

HOW TO STORE NATURAL GAS

Atmos Energy has offered these tips for saving natural gas in your home:

  • Do not use your natural gas fireplace.
  • Lower your thermostat to at least 68 degrees. Consider wearing extra layers of clothing and lowering the thermostat further.
  • Businesses should minimize their energy consumption as much as possible.
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  • Lower the temperature of the water heater to 120 degrees, as this can represent 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 the natural gas that keeps the power going.
  • Reduce shower time and avoid baths. The shower accounts for approximately 40% of your home’s hot water consumption.
  • Avoid using large appliances like your washer, dryer, oven, and dishwasher for the next few days. When in use, limit the opening of the oven door to avoid wasting energy.
  • If you have a swimming pool, do not use the pool heater. Instead, run your pool pump during the coldest part of the day to circulate the water and prevent freezing.

Atmos Energy also reminds everyone that if you smell natural gas or suspect a leak, to leave the area immediately and from a safe distance, call 911 and the Atmos Energy emergency number at 866.322 .8667.

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