Propane Ripoff

Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:23 pm

My recent experience regarding the propane service I have for the Empire furnace I have in the kitchen which I no longer use (originally a PM to a few members. Admin suggested I post it):

I had decided to hold off on having Suburban Propane remove the tank, I haven't used the Empire furnace in the kitchen at all this year but I thought we might need it if we had a real cold spell. I figured the tank was almost full, at the most it only would take a few gallons. I'm on automatic delivery, there's no gauge on the tank so I can't tell when it's low. If I was on "will call" and it ran out they would charge me for a leak test, but being on auto it's not my problem.

I'll be calling them tomorrow to cancel my account, they can stop by and take the tank!
I would assume they will refund the cost of the gas that I've already paid for. If not I'll keep the tank and run it dry. Before Suburban Propane I had Ameri-Gas, they tried to charge a service fee because I wasn't using any propane, I got rid of them.

I don't like the idea of the tank sitting there right next to the kitchen wall anyway.
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Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

The Rest Of The Story

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:26 pm

So on Thursday I paid a visit to the dealer:

I went to Suburban Propane today. The 67.66 charge is the yearly minimum fee.
I've canceled my service, they are scheduling the tank removal. There is an $85.00 disconnect charge. The value of the propane in the tank will be applied towards the $67.66 and the $85.00. What a deal!
If I keep the tank to run it dry I'll still have to pay the two charges, so I elected to cut my losses and call it a wash.
There's around 80 gallons in the 100 gallon tank, I think the current price is $4.24/gal. That would be $340.00. We will see if they refund anything to me! I asked about heating oil, it's around $3.60/gal. I had a nice conversation with the rep., no reason to be nasty, I concluded the visit by indicating I was heating with coal now. :D
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:33 pm

Where is listed that they charged you for a minimum, or is that another company that doesn't itemize. I really hate that getting a bill and you have no idea what you're being charged for, especially the infamous one listed as service charge... service charge for what? :evil:
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite


Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:41 pm

Richard S. wrote:Where is listed that they charged you for a minimum, or is that another company that doesn't itemize. I really hate that getting a bill and you have no idea what you're being charged for, especially the infamous one listed as service charge... service charge for what? :evil:


On the invoice it says "PROPANE @MBI"
MBI apparently stands for the minimum yearly charge, to stick it to those who don't use enough gas. If I just kept the tank I would get the "MBI" again next year. One of my friends suggested going on will call and using up all the propane, then taking the tank back to the company myself to avoid the $85 disconnect fee, but not only is it too dangerous but the charge is probably in the contract I signed.
The service charge is what I pay them for the wonderful now rusting tank that's next to my house.
At the time it was the only way I knew about that I could use to heat the kitchen addition. I now know better!
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: daveuz On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:07 pm

That kind of thing really P-sses me off! I would run 24/7 till dry with your propane heater since it is paid for anyway and than tell them it is empty and must leak and let them spend half a day looking for the "leak" and when they can't find it tell them to remove it . (ok maybe I wouldn't them me it leaked .)
daveuz
 

Re: The Rest Of The Story

PostBy: coalstoves On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:18 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote: I had a nice conversation with the rep., no reason to be nasty, I concluded the visit by indicating I was heating with coal now. :D

Good fer You ! They just love hearing that 4 letter word COAL
coalstoves
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:20 pm

I thought of all the angles. I know I signed a contract to start the service. I have to find it.
Any fees spelled out in the contract aren't subject to negotiation. The only item that's open to debate is the price per gallon. That may be detailed in the contract as well (as far as how the price is determined).
There's a 5 or 6 year old house nearby that has propane heat. I'd feel sorry for them if I liked them, which I don't! :twisted: :evil:
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: The Rest Of The Story

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:27 pm

coalstoves wrote:
Wood'nCoal wrote: I had a nice conversation with the rep., no reason to be nasty, I concluded the visit by indicating I was heating with coal now. :D

Good fer You ! They just love hearing that 4 letter word COAL


There's no reason to have an attitude or be nasty. The woman I spoke to was only doing her job. We had a nice conversation, I thanked her for her time. You get more bees with honey then with vinegar! She asked me where I get the coal from. Their yard is right next to the dealer where I got the lousy coal from last year.
I have been in jobs where I have dealt with the public. The nasty ones get the least attention and results. And to use another dumb saying, I have bigger fish to fry.
A rolling stone gathers no moss, A bird in hand is worth two in the bush (?), The early bird.................. bop2
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Yanche On: Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:03 am

I use propane for my cooktop stove and gas dryer. Many years ago my propane was supplied by a local company in 100 lb bottles. There were two bottles with an automatic switch over when one tank emptied. Service was good and the price fair. The owner got old, retired and sold out to one of the big regional propane companies. They didn't service 100 lb bottles and installed a single larger tank that was bulk filled. Things were ok, until they got bought up by a much larger national propane supplier. Tank was changed again, supposedly for safety reasons, and I signed for the delivery and installation. Prices kept inching up and I complained. I learned my propane per unit measure was high because factored in was the tank rental. I switched to "will call for refill service". It took 2-3 years to empty the tank. Prior to using all the propane I bought a 100 lb. empty bottle at Tractor Supply. It was about $60. Took it to my local rental center which has the cheapest propane around. Cost about $50 to fill.

When my rental tank emptied I switched to the 100 lb. bottle. Called the propane company to come get their tank. They didn't come and I moved the tank to a rear part of my property. Two years later I got a bill for tank rental. Told them to stuff it. They sent a service contractor out to get the tank. They had a devil of a time getting the tank out of the woods since it was all covered with wild rose vines plus wasps nests. I just watched from a safe distance. I got a flat rate bill for tank removal. After looking at what I originally signed and talking to my attorney I paid the bill. It was less hassle than fighting and I would have lost if they wanted to take me to court. I've since bought another 100 lb. tank. Works well for me since I use less than 200 lbs. a year. Now cost $78 to fill.
Last edited by Yanche on Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Flyer5 On: Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:59 am

I am in the same boat with the propane for my fireplace in my living room . I paid $3.10/gal last time 20gals I stopped the auto refill. They came and filled a tank with 80% to up over 100% on the guage . I dont use it except on the coldest days . Over the summer I will be installing my alaska console coal stove and taking out the propane . I want to use up every last bit of propane in the tanks . I dont get a rental charge so if they try to charge me for a disconnect fee I will roll it down the hill and leave it here . Or hook it up to my gas grill ,I wont need to refill for 20 yrs . Dave
Flyer5
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Pioneer

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:02 am

Hey Wood'nCoal, I've had similar battles with both Sub. and AmrG. regarding minimum usage charge too. At my first house, started out with Sub. who was bought out by AmrG. Used for cooking fuel only. I don't know how old the tk was, it was there when I move there in '79 and still there when I sold in '03 and looked like it was sitting in the dirt but neither company cared.

Old house's tank didn't have a gauge while the new house's tank does. With or without a gauge, I can tell when they're near empty. My experience is with the LP company's well-used tanks that have been filled many times. They add a sulfur (mercaptan) compound to give a nasty smell to the gas so a small leak can be detected. The stuff settles out. When the gas nears the bottom/empty I would smell the stink while the cook stove flame was on - not leaking. I notice a white deposit on the burner grates too. The companies confirmed that it's a sign the tk is near empty. As the last of the LP in the bottom gasifies into the tank's headspace, it carries some of the excess mercaptan that's collected with it making the gas stink when it burns. I've gone empty around 4-5 times even though I'm on auto fill. Why? Seems they were using degree-days to determine my cooking and water heating usage
:idea:
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:30 am

I'm familiar with the mercaptan smell, the Ameri-Gas tank had a gauge and I would run it down very low, the smell would waft out from the furnace even though it's a direct vent that uses outside air for combustion and exhausts back outside. It's for sale BTW!
I remember those silver 100 lb. bottles. I grew up in an area with natural gas service but there were a few older homes that hadn't connected to the gas mains that had them.
Yanche, I liked the story about what you did with the propane tank.
If these charges weren't so ridiculous I'd keep the tank, I was going to connect my gas grill into it, we use the grill year 'round and it's a pain in the a** to keep taking the tank to be refilled. With the new float system the tanks holds less and runs out too fast. I suppose I can get a tank similar to what Yanche uses and connect the grill to that.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:41 am

Also, I'm apprehensive about propane and the people that handle it.


http://www.njherald.com/335068442036031.php
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.



http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=57448
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.



From the New Jersey Herald:

"Firefighter dies
after Franklin explosion

A propane explosion on Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at a mobile home in Franklin claimed the life of a Hardyston firefighter and displaced the home's inhabitants.

The explosion at Woodbine Avenue was apparently caused by a propane delivery company's failure to disconnect a delivery hose before its truck pulled away. Leaking gas was ignited, sparking the fire.

William "Bill" Pierce, 53, a 26-year firefighter, died after suffering a heart attack after fighting the fire. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and two sons.

Ferrellgas delivered 36 gallons of propane to a 200-pound cylinder at the mobile home owned by Daryl and Joy Martin. Their home was completely leveled by the explosion and fire, causing them to move in temporarily with their daughter.

After the propane explosion, the company paid a $13,500 fine imposed by the Department of Community Affairs for failing to make sure the truck's driver, Richard Heffernan, was properly trained and certified."
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: cArNaGe On: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:07 pm

I've had issues with Surburban also. Two years ago they sent me a bill for $100 because I hadn't ordered propane in two years.
I didn't pay it. Never heard from them again. This year I needed propane so I called to get the tank filled. They told me I didn't have their tank. I told them if didn't have their tank then I was gonna put the White Propane tank with Surburban Propane written on it on the side of the road that's been sitting in my yard for the last 8 years. So then they came and filled it. 500 gallons cost me $1200. I have two ventless propane heaters for days like today and my gas range. I need a coal boiler so I can just buy a 100# bottle for my stove.
cArNaGe
 

Re: Propane Ripoff

PostBy: Matthaus On: Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:04 pm

I inherited the tank at my townhouse when I bought it. The last time I filled it the price was $4 a gallon for 96 gallons. :x

When I install the coal stove (as soon as I run out of propane) the tank is going down the hill into the woods. :)
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite