Gas Company Credits Customer After Gas Leak Led to High Bill

A Dallas man asked NBC 5 Responds for help after getting stuck with a large bill after an underground gas leak.

James Ford has lived in his Dallas home for 27 years. He knows it inside and out and exactly how much it costs to keep it warm.

"I have a gas furnace," Ford said. "It generally runs $100 to $125 in the winter time."

But in March, a bill came for much more: $840.01 worth of natural gas.

"I called and they said there was a mistake in the reading, whatever, and we'll get it adjusted," Ford said.

He had a feeling there was something wrong, so he asked Atmos to send someone to check his line. And that's when they found a leak.

"The leak was under the house. I didn't smell anything," Ford said.

He had it fixed immediately, but got another bill for more than $500. It covered part of the time the gas was still leaking.

He asked about a credit.

"I said, 'Do I have any adjustment?' They said, 'No, I don't. It's on your side of the meter,'"Ford recalled. "They said, 'Well, you have no alternative other than to pay it.'"

He called the NBC 5 Responds Center, and we reached out to Atmos. A spokeswoman for the utility company said, "We look at each case individually and make decisions based on the customer's actual consumption of gas."

In Ford's case, his request for a credit was approved. Atmos took his average bill and charged him that amount, reducing the bill from $1,300 to $200.

He also got a new smart meter installed on his home to help keep his billing as accurate as possible.

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