Some gas customers lose heat on coldest night

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 1:32 AM

COLLEYVILLE — Natural gas service in Allen, Lucas, Fairview and parts of McKinney could go out overnight.

The reason? CoServ Gas said it was having problems maintaining pressure.

But CoServ is not alone. Gas service was an issue across North Texas on Wednesday.

Lana and Michael Beeter did not need an alarm clock Wednesday morning; frosty temperatures in their home awakened them.

Their heater was not working.

"He went upstairs into the attic and realized the pilot light wouldn't stay on because there was just no gas coming out," Lana said.

The Beeters soon learned that their Colleyville neighbors had the same problem.

"We noticed about 5 a.m. that our heat was out and that it was getting colder," said Mike Ross.

The outage resulted from enormous demand for gas, which caused a pressure drop in transmission lines.

The Beeters sent their two children to a friend's home while they waited by a wood-burning fireplace to stay warm.

"It got down to about 55," Michael Beeter said.

The gas in their neighborhood started flowing again after almost 12 hours.

"The frustrating part is, they tell you they don't know what's going on," Michael Beeter said.

Families in Grapevine, North Richland Hills and Southlake also reported natural gas service outages.

Atmos Energy said fewer than 2,000 customers were without service on Wednesday afternoon, but a company spokesman was unable to provide an update Wednesday night, explaining that as some homes are brought online, others are losing gas service.

Atmos Energy has taken an unusual step to maintain its service by cutting off some industrial customers to make sure it has enough gas for residential customers.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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