The Texas Railroad Commission continues its investigation of Atmos Energy in the wake of service disruptions late last year.
Approximately 100 Texas customers complained to the Texas Railroad Commission about Atmos Energy service disruptions during a recent cold weather event, according to an ongoing regulatory investigation of the North Texas gas utility.
In a January 27 memo filed in the case, Railroad Commission staff also reported that some Atmos customers tried to reach the company by phone for assistance, but became frustrated and hung up after long wait times.
The Texas Railroad Commission, an agency charged with overseeing gas utility matters, began examining Atmos late last year after more than 2,300 customers lost service or had their service curtailed during a December 22-26 winter storm. Both Gov. Greg Abbott and local city officials have complained about what they described as the company’s lack of planning, and have called for the inquiry.
As part of its investigation, the Railroad Commission has reviewed customer complaints it received directly, according to information it provided in the January 27 memo. Its Market Oversight Section (“MOS”) handled 105 complaints from local distribution company customers, and 98 of them related to service failures by Atmos Energy, according to the memo.
Railroad Commission staff then directly contacted 56 complainants for additional details, according to the memo. Ten Atmos customers reported service failures lasting four to eight hours, 11 reported service failures lasting nine to 20 hours, and 18 reported service failures lasting between one and two days. Agency staff noted that 31 respondents reported problems of low gas pressure, while nine indicated a complete loss of gas pressure.
Further, five customers reported that Atmos left them on hold for over an hour as they attempted to report service outages. Another eight customers ended their calls after one hour without successfully contacting a customer service representative. Two reported hanging up without making contact after holding for more than two hours.
In a January 13 filing with the agency, Atmos Energy said the service interruptions were not due to an inability to obtain natural gas supplies — as occurred during Winter Storm Uri in 2021 — but “primarily due to instances of capacity constraints where demand exceeded our contingency plans in localized areas.” The company highlighted its emergency planning efforts, but noted that “going forward, we recognize the need to have even more robust contingency planning and to enhance our redundant capabilities.”
More about the Railroad Commission inquiry can be found on the agency’s website, under Case No. 00012215.