MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley Propane Company is offering alternative solutions for its customers who have yet to get their propane tanks refilled due to a huge backlog.
Wednesday the company released a statement saying customers have four options to remedy the situation:
- Wait as the company attempts to gain ground, implementing additional resources and time saving processes to complete more daily fills.
- The customer can switch service providers and allow them to take over the service.
- The customer can purchase the tank from Berkeley Propane.
- Customer owned tanks are able to be filled by other companies willing to fill them.
Spokeswoman Leisa Stilley said Wednesday afternoon Berkeley Propane has approximately 670 orders for tank refills.
"We see 23-25 new requests a day during this cold weather," she added. "On average we're getting 40-50 tanks filled, so you can see that we're not gaining ground quickly."
According to the company's statement, they are fully staffed with trucks running seven days a week.
Kim Musselman is one of hundreds who have been waiting on their tanks to be refilled. Since last week, her home has been without heat, hot water, and use of the stove.
Wednesday a Berkeley Propane tank arrived for the refill.
"I think the most frustrating part is actually not being without the heat and hot water, it was the conflicting information, the lack of transparency," Musselman said.
"It is all about service, and we have let our customers down," Stilley said.
In an effort to remedy the situation, Berkeley Propane is offering the four options mentioned. However, if a customer wants to purchase their leased tank from the company, there are some things to know about.
"With that, they transfer the liability and maintenance over to the owner," Stilley said. "We will provide a letter of release to where they can contract any provider to fill the tank… It will be priced at the size of the tank, but at a very discounted rate."
Monday Stilley said in a phone interview, customers would be able to contact other companies to fill the Berkeley Propane tanks. Wednesday Stilley said that was no longer an option due to "liability concerns and the fact that the other companies are fully engaged in servicing their own customers".
Musselman said after scheduling a delivery with another company Monday afternoon, she found out they wouldn't deliver because there was no written permission from Berkeley Propane.
"I was furious because [Berkeley Propane] understands the situation," she said. "To not follow up with their own members and not provide the written, legal documentation, it just seems that their words to you on the air were all talk and no action."
"We should have been up there, out front saying things are progressively going downhill," Stilley said. "We do now have a statement, we have come together with our options."
Stilley added Berkeley Electric Cooperative is adding additional personnel to help with Berkeley Propane and additional resources to try and expedite the refill process.
Musselman also contacted the South Carolina Gas Association regarding the situation with Berkeley Propane.
Executive Director Corky Clark said they are aware of the situation.
Anyone who wishes to take advantage of the options above is urged to contact Berkeley Propane.
"We are taking full responsibility and are doing everything possible to meet our customers' needs and sincerely apologize for this unfortunate situation," the company statement reads.
Thursday the Vice President of the company, Trena Nelson, said they're dealing with an abnormally high number of requests dating back to the fall.
"It tripled as far as requests we got dating back to Dec. 15," Nelson said. "It tripled to almost 600 and something gas deliveries that are needed."
Stilley added at this time there will be no administrative changes due to this backlog issue.
Berkeley Propane serves more than 4,000 accounts across the Tri-County.