Letter from National Fuel

pharmsaler Posted By pharmsaler, Jan 8, 2012 at 7:55 PM

  1. billb3

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 14, 2007
    SE Mass
    I replaced a fridge and my electric bill went from $85 to $30 / month.
    Then started replacing everything that would save a penny or more and got it down to $18.00 one month (June or July).
    Got a new electric meter.

    A new meter is a trophy for your efforts.

    People do mess with meters and besides the thievery issue it's not necessarily safe.

    You'd want them to come look for leaks if you were suddenly using more, too.
  2. Badfish740

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 3, 2007
    Gas heat has its advantages, but since its usually provided by a large corporation I'm not surprised you had such an unpleasant interaction. We have oil heat and our fuel is provided by a small family owned company who has been serving the area for over 70 years. The winter I installed my furnace the truck came (we are on automatic fill up) toward the end of February, and it had been a very cold winter. I came home to a bill in the door for only 39 gallons ;) The next day I got a call from Bud, the owner, who was genuinely concerned after seeing that the tank only took 39 gallons-he thought that either the driver screwed up or that there was something wrong with the tank whistle that signals when it's full. I assured him that we were not going run dry in the middle of a cold night and told him that we had just been burning a lot of wood. "Ok!" he said, "Good for you! We have plenty of customers who burn wood, but not very many who burn as much as you do! Just wanted to make sure everything was alright." Big difference, huh? ;)

  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Minister of Fire 2.

    May 20, 2008
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    While I agree that doing business with smaller companies is the way to go practically and morally, the big difference is that an oil company always delivers a discrete amount of fuel- there's no fooling them. They delivered it or they didn't. The gas company relies on a meter (this is plumbed in, not delivered propane)- if you tamper with it, then they lose and they do have people doing that.

    Of course, when there's a problem of any sort- you call up the family businessperson and you can have an actual conversation and settle things.
  4. potter

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Aug 8, 2008
    western NY
    I've been burning less wood and more gas in the house this winter. My shop is in floor propane. To get a decent price, I need to pre-buy 600 gals.. So with the warm weather usage is down in the studio. So heating the house so that I'm not left with unused pre buy at the end of the year. (or am not able to use 600 nest year) Understandable, but bass ackwards how you are rewarded for high usage.

    Well, it will make for more wood for the next season.
  5. UMainah

    Member 2.

    Jan 4, 2012
    Bangor, ME
    You might want to make sure they don't forward your bill to a collections agency.
  6. lukem

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 12, 2010
    I have a great locally owned propane provider, but fortunately for me and unfortunately for them, we don't do a lot of business anymore. I'm still on their automatic delivery schedule.

    The previous owners of our house were an elderly couple that kept the thermostat set at 78* with a vintage 1960's gas boiler. The first thing I did when I moved in was set it at 65* because I had seen their utility bills before the purchase ($600 - $800 / month...ouch). After filling the tank on our first propane delivery the guy came to the door and told my wife to "keep up the great work. This house used to use a ton of propane".

    The best delivery was (after we installed the wood stove) when he backed the truck up, drug the hose around, popped the lid...he just shook his head and smiled, rolled up the hose and left. Apparently it wasn't worth a 10 gallon fill-up. He doesn't come back nearly as much now.
  7. btuser

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 15, 2009
    Principality of Pontinha
    First year in the new house the propane people wanted to charge me $200 tank charge/year. I told them I'd buy the tanks rather than pay the charge. No dice, "we don't sell our tanks". I told them to come and get their tanks and credit me the price of the propane. BOY! Did I give them a deal! Not only did I sell it back to them for $.40 cheaper than they could sell it to me, but apparently a 250 gallon tank is really only 80% full which means its only got 200 gallons.

    "That's right, 200 gallons."
    "Yes, sir. There's only 200 gallons in a 250 gallon tank"
    "But you only gave me credit for 160 gallons."
    "The tanks are only 80% full"
    "The gas tech who pulled the tanks couldn't fit another gallon in the tanks. They've been full since you delivered last. That's how he knew they were already full, and that' what I have on my receipt. You checked them before you picked them up. They were full"
    "No sir, you don't understand, a full tank is still only 80% full"
    "Yes sir. You can only fill it to 80%"
    "So a 250 gallon tank that's full has 80% of 250 gallons?"
    "That's correct sir"
    Then what's 80% of 250 gallons?"
    "Hold on a minute sir. Let me see. That's 250 multiplied by .80 will equal 200- WHOA, let me get my supervisor"

    20 minutes on hold.

    "Hello, this is Eastern Propane"
    "Yes, I'd like to discuss my credit"
    "Well you see sir, a 250 gallon tank will only hold 80%..............."

    Long story short I didn't get my money. The moral of the story is START CHEATING THE WEEK YOU MOVE IN!!!!
  8. eclecticcottage

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 7, 2011
    We are not friends with National Fuel, our NG provider at the old house. They replaced our meter years ago and we've been trying to get it replaced again. There's no way we can use what they say we do, especially in the summer with the pilots to both stoves shut off. And they refuse to come out to test the darn thing to PROVE it's accuret. This summer should be a fun one, we're going to shut off ALL the gas appliances since the tankless at the Cottage is so much more efficent, we won't use the hot water at the house. And we always shut down the pilots on the stoves. Which will mean 0 usage. So...I wonder how long before we get such a letter. Lol.

    The Cottage on the other hand, uses LP. It came with a 70% full tank from an unknown supplier, and since the seller never brought up a credit for it, neither did we-so we aren't really sure when it was filled, or by whom. We'll shop around one year or another I'm sure, since we do cook with it, and the hot water heater uses it. It's been hanging at 60% for a month now (it dropped 10% when we used the oven 3x-we don't use the oven anymore, lol). We bought a 100 gallon tank for the VF fireplace we have for backup, and we can take that up to the hardware store in town to refill. Maybe we'll do the same for the big tank too, since it seems that the stovetop and tankless don't use too much either. Would be nice to have that space the tank takes for more wood :D
  9. jeff_t

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 14, 2008
    SE MI
    Those with LP tanks that haven't been filled in a long time, do yourself a favor and slam the lid a few times the next time you look at the gauge. They do stick, and don't ask how I know. You don't want to run out when you're out of town on a sub-zero weekend.
  10. Badfish740

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 3, 2007
    Sure, I know it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, but my point was more about the personalities. I suppose the guy at my oil company could have looked at the report and just said "Great...another #$@hole with a wood stove!" ;) I have read stories on here about oil companies giving people a hard time (taking them off of automatic fill up, etc...) because they only end up delivering minimal amounts each time. The part that got me was about the gas company who, knowing nothing about the house, the insert, or the burning habits of the customer, just said "it's not possible for a wood burning appliance to be that efficient, therefore you must be stealing from us." >:-(

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