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Atmos Energy urging residents to conserve gas usage – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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

Atmos Energy is closely monitoring the weather and organizing its employees across the system.

On one of the coldest days of the season, many North Texans go nearly an entire day without heat in their homes. And some are reporting low natural gas pressure while there are 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 having run out of fuel since Thursday night.

Amir Arien said he bought five heaters on Thursday night to keep his family warm. On Friday afternoon they still didn’t have hot water or heat.

“This is our temperature right now. Upstairs 55.63, downstairs,” Arien said. “It’s like the déjà vu we had with electricity in 2021.”

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

“At my house, that’s literally when I checked in… 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 her home returned late Friday morning after being without heat downstairs for about 12 hours.

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

“I think it was really frustrating because at least with information…you can plan. Do I need to go out and buy heaters or what?” she explained. “Without any kind of feedback or updates, it becomes very difficult.”

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

An Atmos Energy spokesperson did not directly respond to our questions about communication issues or how many residents were affected, but we were told via email:

“Please let your audience know that we are experiencing high call volume due to the colder than normal temperatures and that there may be a significant wait time to speak with an agent. If it is not an emergency or if they are calling regarding the status of an order, we are working as quickly as possible to get a service technician to your home. If it’s an emergency, please hold on and an agent will answer the call as soon as possible.”

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

WHERE YOU CAN GO IF YOU’RE COLD

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

The North Richland Hills Baptist Church Welfare Center was a heating station for residents, but has since closed. Residents in need of shelter should call the NRH public safety dispatch at 817-281-1000.

The Texas Department of Emergency Management has released its warm-up center map to help Texans find a place to go if they need to stay warm during the dangerously low temperatures.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET BACK IN THE HEAT?

Around 11:30 am, Atmos tweeted that there would be a “significant wait time” as call volume was high.

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

“The Railroad Commission 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 system pressure and continue to work with fines for customers who have experienced low – pressure issues. Atmos customer service center is open. Additional resources have been added to handle call volumes and work customer tickets. Atmos Mid-Tex reported no gas supply issues overall on the system at this time. The Commission remains in close communication with Atmos and will provide updates as soon as we receive them.”

In a now-deleted post on its Facebook page, Atmos posted on Friday morning that customer service lines were closed on Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26, stating: ” Our customer service hotlines are closed today, December 23rd and Monday, December 26th. Our emergency hotline 866.322.8667 continues to be open 24/7.”

HOW TO PRESERVE NATURAL GAS

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

Atmos Energy also reminds everyone that if you smell natural gas or suspect a leak, 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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