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Gas shutoff, Webster Parish residents to lose vital fuel - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Gas shutoff, Webster Parish residents to lose vital fuel

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DUBBERLY, La. -

For some, gas heats their homes and water. Even their stoves run on the fuel, it's vital for their way of life. Imagine the gas provider says they're turning off the pipes, abandoning their customers. That's what has happened to some rural Webster Parish residents. Luckily, hope and help is available. 

Gas services will come to an end for some residents in late spring to early summer. Around 39, including Dennis Simonelli of Dubberly, La., got the troubling news from Atmos Energy last month. Simonelli says it was shock, getting the news. He believes it's unfair that Atmos should abandon its customers. The company, which doesn't own the pipes carrying the gas to homes in affected areas, says ending services is a move to save money.

"People that live here pay taxes, and they give them a letter that says your gas is going to be cut off," Simonelli said. "That just doesn't make sense to me."

An Atmos Energy spokesperson says affected residents get their gas from a third party's pipeline. Those pipes are being shutdown. Atmos would have to replace the pipes in order to continue service. The spokesperson says that would be too costly.

Steven Lemons, the district 7 police juror, is an affected resident and says the parish can't install new pipes but is working to solve the problem. Foster Campbell, the area's PSC representative, says he is as well. So far, CenterPoint Energy has agreed to offer gas services to 15 residents along Shadow Lane, including Lemons and Simonelli.

"The other 24, we still have not come up with a resolution for them yet," Lemons said.

Campbell says any residents that don't get a new service provider will get $5,000 from Atmos to help with conversion costs. Simonell believes that's not enough and that a switch to propane would increase monthly fuel bills.

"Of course, myself and other retired people are on fixed incomes," Simonelli said. "You have to think about what you have to sacrifice."

Campbell says the goal is find new service providers for all affected residents.

 

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