Natural gas shutdown affects thousands of Cove customers
By Lynette Sowell
On Thursday morning, more than 4,000 Atmos Energy natural gas customers in Copperas Cove lost service, which shut down many restaurants and affected other business operations city wide.
The Copperas Cove Fire Department was notified and no evacuations were issued.
Atmos issued a statement on Thursday regarding the outage and its cause.
“While performing scheduled maintenance at a facility in Copperas Cove, our highly trained technicians experienced a condition with our equipment which resulted in the shutdown of our system to make repairs. Unfortunately, that resulted in lost natural gas service to more than 4,000 valued customers,” said Tammie Bowman, Atmos Energy manager of public affairs.
The team worked to resolve the issue and overnight Thursday had restored service to critical institutions including schools, healthcare facilities and hotels. During the shutdown, restaurants that depended on natural gas for their hot water and cooking closed down, but places like Dairy Queen, Whataburger, and Subway remained open Thursday evening.
Over at Copperas Cove Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, they had a modified menu for their residents and delayed showers for that day, said Trae Cunningham, the area director of marketing for the center.
“We didn’t have hot water because of the gas shutdown. But we had sandwiches for the residents, and some of them thought the change was kind of fun. Atmos had us on their priority list, as we are a healthcare facility, so by the next morning everything was up and running again,” said Cunningham.
Other businesses, such as restaurants, dealt with loss of revenue from having to shutter their doors until service could be restored.
A team of Atmos technicians from across Texas and other Atmos service areas descended upon Copperas Cove to make door-to-door visits to Atmos Energy customers to reconnect gas service on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Bowman said that as of Sunday evening, only about 200 customers still needed to be reconnected.
“Those homes or businesses were vacant, but door tags were left on the properties,” Bowman said. “Those still needing reconnection or with questions should call the number on the tag, or the emergency number.”
Bowman added that Atmos Energy accepts claims due to this particular loss of service.
“Those customers can email email@example.com, or can access more information on the website.”
The link can be found at: https://www.atmosenergy.com/utility-operationsrates/claims-process.
Atmos Energy also downloadable forms which must be completed and submitted along with copies of receipts and other documentation, to include busineses which can demonstrate loss of revenue during the shutdown.
“If you think Atmos Energy is responsible for damage or injury, you may submit a property damage or personal injury claim with supporting documentation,” the website states.
Customers who have questions about their service are encouraged to call the Atmos Energy customer contact center at 888-286-6700.