There is a story going on in Juneau and elsewhere that I want people to know about because many of our neighbors are in an unexpected situation. It is my hope that some readers of this letter will reach out to help them.
The story starts in January. I noticed a mention in the news of rising propane prices due to shortages on the East Coast. As we are in Juneau, I did not think about it. However, in February, I received a notice from Amerigas that said our February bill would be $435 instead of $160. The notice said that if we did not pay $435 in February and thereafter, we would be kicked off the budget payment plan. In response to my panic, our lovely local Amerigas office worked hard, and for a long time, with the national office to reduce the bill to $175 from $435.
Other people are not so lucky. Our bill was reduced because we do not need more fuel this season. For people who do need more fuel, things are going to be rough.
Please imagine the fear of people unexpectedly receiving fuel bills they cannot pay. If one is kicked off budget pay, the whole amount owed becomes due. If one cannot pay that amount, which is large, then one does not receive any more fuel deliveries.
The local office told me, when I asked, that there are people in a very desperate situation. Because I experienced the panic they must feel, I am sick about this situation. I wish I were rich and could call up Amerigas and pay part of the bills for these unlucky people. If you can help your neighbors in Juneau who may soon have no heat and maybe no cooking or hot water, please do!
The national Amerigas office did not respond to my satisfaction when I called to say a nicer letter should have been sent and that people should be allowed to pay gradually and have been given warning to conserve. The local office, however, is very nice, capable and efficient. Please call them (and other companies) if you can, and help your desperate neighbors who may soon have no fuel. Thank you!