DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At least 2,800 Atmos customers are affected by a gas outage, and Atmos says it will pay for the expense of living without a gas-powered stove, heating and cooling and hot water for up to three weeks.
Megan Cook will be without those gas-powered basics for up to three weeks. She lives in the area that lost gas service due to safety concerns over gas leaks.
Dallas Fire-Rescue has linked two house fires and a house explosion that killed 12-year-old Linda Rogers last week to Atmos’ pipes.
Since the explosion Friday, Atmos has provided hotel rooms for immediately affected residents.
Atmos says those seeking monetary assistance do not need to be at the Bachman and Walnut Hill recreation centers on Friday to receive the full value of the assistance Atmos Energy is providing – they will get the full amount, regardless of when they pick up their check.
Now that that number of people impacted has ballooned into the thousands, Atmos is providing a $250 per diem per household…regardless if your household is one person or eight.
“We are assisting with their financial needs, said Atmos spokeswoman Jennifer Altieri. “That is for a household, and we went on the federal standards for those per diem.”
Frustrated residents, some who haven’t had gas service since Friday, say $250 isn’t enough to cover hotels, food and other expenses.
“The stress alone is just tremendous of having to get up at 4:30 in the morning and boil water to make sure you have enough water to take a bath,” says Louis Campbell.
Atmos says residents need to reapply every five days because their service may be restored by then. It plans to restore service to different areas in waves. Not everyone will be without gas for three weeks.
For some residents, paying for expenses won’t restore their trust in the utility. They don’t trust Atmos’ promises or ability to keep them safe.
When CBS 11 asked Mayor Rawlings who would hold Atmos accountable, he said, “I don’t think we have a situation where the mayor and the city has kind of got to be a hammer on this right now.”
Atmos also announced it continues to probe surrounding areas for gas leaks, saying it’s looking beyond the area affected right now. Atmos didn’t rule out further evacuations or gas outages.