STONY CREEK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Facing an ongoing problem, some Ferrellgas propane customers say they’re about to run out of gas to heat their homes. When it comes to this kind of consumer, there’s little in the way of regulations to help them.

Aaron Nasen of Stony Creek says he has spent hours on hold. He joins a growing list of customers waiting for deliveries that don’t come. Inside his rural home, they’re conserving heat by living and sleeping in one room.

Nasen said he did as Ferrellgas asked and called when his tank was at 30% on January 20. He said they still haven’t come. His tank is now at 11%. His wife, Minnie, has cancer and he says the issue with Farrellgs adds to his concerns for her.

“Our day starts at five and it ends at 2 o’clock in the morning with medication,” Nasen said.

Roughly 250,000 households use propane in New York, and unlike typical utilities, there’s very little in the way of regulations for propane consumers. That’s according to Bill Overbaugh, Interim Director of the New York Propane Gas Association. “When a homeowner signs up for electric or natural gas service there’s only one utility provider,” he said. “With propane, though, it’s a free market.”

Back in 2018, when financially strapped Ferrellgas was grappling with transportation issues, the New York State Attorney General’s Office pushed for a settlement to help consumers who ran out of fuel.

When NEWS10 asked for a comment on these most recent complains, a spokesperson with the AG’s Office emailed this statement: “We are aware of the issues that consumers have been facing with Ferrellgas and have been in regular contact with the company to ensure that these issues are being addressed. While we continue to monitor this situation, we encourage anyone experiencing problems to contact our office.”

Most propane companies refuse to fill another’s tanks, citing liability and safety concerns. If you want to buy your propane tank, it can cost thousands. Wanting to switch to another provider while facing mounting health care bills, Nasen said he feels strapped. He said he would likely have to put it all on a credit card to pay it off.

Asked how they are addressing the stream of issues, Ferrellgas spokesperson Scott Brockelmeyer responded:

  • Demand is very high but there is no shortage of propane.
  • Ferrellgas continues to be the largest propane supplier in the capital region.
  • Our team of employee-owners is working double shifts, seven days a week to keep their customers and neighbors warm and safe.
  • In the propane industry, there are company-owned and customer-owned tanks. Customers who own their own tanks may purchase from whomever they choose.
  • There are two customer types, those who wish to be delivered automatically on a schedule and “will call” customers who want to manage the timing of their deliveries.
  • Will call customers should contact us when their tank level reaches 30 percent
  • Our top priority is the warmth and safety of our customers. Even though a customer might be lower than 30 percent, the most important thing is that they have heat. 
  • Ferrellgas proactively contacts will call customers when we project they will need a delivery to remind them to place an order.
  • Routes are scheduled days in advance and are built in a way to maximize the number of deliveries.
  • We do our very best to accommodate and include emergency deliveries without compromising the scheduled deliveries of other customers.
  • Like many other industries, Ferrellgas has been affected by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic but we stand ready to service our customers.

The statement is similar to a previous statement sent to NEWS10 on January 18.

“Ensuring that each of our customers has the propane they need is our top priority. We have a sufficient supply of propane and Ferrellgas’ dedicated employees are working seven days a week to meet our customers’ needs in New York State. We continue to ask our Will Call customers to contact us when their tank percentage reaches 30% or seven business days prior to their desired delivery.  We also ask that customers provide a clear path to their tank and keep driveways free of snow and ice.”

Scott Brockelmeyer, Ferrellgas

If you have a complaint about propane delivery you are urged to contact the New York State Attorney General’s Office.