Atmos Energy urges residents to reduce gas use – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Atmos Energy is urging residents to reduce natural gas consumption during extreme winter temperatures to maintain gas supplies.

Atmos Energy closely monitors the weather and deploys its staff throughout the system.

On one of the coldest days of the season, many North Texans spend most of the day without heat in their homes. And some are reporting low natural gas pressures amid calls to conserve gas.

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

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

“This is our temperature at the moment. Above 55.63, below,” said Arien. “It’s like a déjà vu that we had with the power in 2021.”

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

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

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

Lagray said while she was relieved to see her gas pressure returning 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. Do I need to go out and buy space heaters or what?” She explained. “Without any feedback or update, it’s going to be really difficult.”

Atmos Energy is urging residents to reduce natural gas consumption during extreme winter temperatures to maintain gas supplies.

A spokesman for Atmos Energy did not directly answer our questions about communication issues or the number of residents affected, but we were told in an email:

“Please let your audience know that due to colder than normal temperatures, we are experiencing a high volume of calls and there may be a significant wait to speak to an agent. If it’s not an emergency, or if you’re calling about the status of a previous call, we’re working to get a service technician to your home as soon as possible. If this is an emergency, please wait and a member of staff will take the call as soon as possible.”

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

WHERE TO WALK WHEN YOU ARE 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 Deer Valley Lane community and surrounding area in South Arlington.

The North Richland Hills Baptist Church’s wellness center was a warm-up station for residents but has been closed. Residents who need housing should call the NRH emergency response center at 817-281-1000.

The Texas Department of Emergency Management has released its warming center map to help Texans find a place to go when they need to stay warm in the dangerously cold temperatures.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE HEAT TO GO BACK?

At around 11:30 a.m., Atmos tweeted that there would be a “significant wait” as they had a high volume of calls.

The Railroad Commission of Texas released a statement 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 the pressure in the system and continue to process tickets for customers who have been experiencing low pressure – pressure issues. Atmos customer call center is open. Additional resources have been added to handle call volume and work customer tickets. Atmos Mid-Tex reported that there are currently no gas supply issues in the system overall. The Commission remains in close communication with Atmos while in office and will provide updates as we receive them.”

In a now-deleted post on their Facebook page Friday morning, Atmos posted that customer service lines were closed for Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26, stating, “Our customer service lines are today, December 23 , and closed on Monday. December 26th. Our emergency number 866.322.8667 remains operational 24 hours a day.”

HOW TO SAVE NATURAL GAS

Atmos Energy shared these tips to save 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 turning the thermostat even lower.
  • Businesses should minimize energy consumption as much as possible
  • possible.
  • Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees, as this can account for up to 25 percent of the energy used in your home.
  • Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use. By conserving electricity, you also help conserve natural gas, which keeps the electricity going.
  • Reduce shower time and avoid baths. Taking a shower accounts for about 40 percent of your home’s hot water consumption.
  • For the next few days, do without large appliances such as washing machines, dryers, ovens and dishwashers. During use, limit the opening of the oven door to avoid wasting energy.
  • If you have a 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 is also reminding everyone that if you smell natural gas or suspect a leak, exit the area immediately and call 911 from a safe distance and call Atmos Energy’s emergency number at 866.322.8667.

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