By Robbie Owens

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Atmos Energy  has released new numbers saying the company has laid enough new pipe to stretch to Fort Worth, as natural gas pipelines repairs continue in Northwest Dallas.

And that’s especially great if yours is one of the homes that now has gas flowing through one of them. Several hundred homes, however, are still without service.

“I knew it was gonna be more than three weeks,” says Monica Rose, “this is a huge job.”

Rose’s home is still without heat and hot water. But, the Dallas edible landscape designer says she sees the delay as a good thing.

“I’m happy it is taking longer than anticipated,” says Rose, “it hopefully shows the company is doing everything properly and they’re not cutting corners just to meet a deadline. I’d rather them take longer and have the job done right, and make sure it’s safe for all of the residents to move back in… rather than speed up the process, put everyone back in their homes, and then have everyone move back in and have another emergency.”

After a series of gradual evacuations in the wake of a fatal gas explosion last month that killed a 12 year old girl, the company decided to shut down service to some 2800 homes in the area to replace the entire delivery system. Atmos is compensating customers $250 per day for the inconvenience and to cover expenses. At the time, the company expected service to be restored within three weeks.

“The first week, it was not so bad,” says Katie Ische. “It’s a nice check. After that, it was like, `okay. I’ve had enough with the cold showers’.”

Ische says service was restored to her home last night. And the family celebrated the simple pleasure of preparing a home cooked meal.
“Last night we were like, ‘oh, yes, we can cook!’ and we went to the grocery store and got stuff we could actually cook on the stove!”

So while families like the Isches knew that the inconvenience should lead to safer natural gas service, what about the homes just beyond the planned outage area?

“I see a lot of guys working every day,” says Kline Jones who lives just across a busy street from the outage area. “You can’t throw a rock without hitting one of them, so they’re very vigilant right now and I’m sure they’ll maintain that vigilance.”

Steve Winslow says the massive repair project that’s unfolded all around his Northwest Dallas home has made him more vigilant about checking for leaks and being sensitive to any odor that suggests there’s a problem. Still, only time will tell if the leaking pipes will respect Atmos’ map.

“I don’t know why it just stopped right there,” says Winslow, glancing across the street to where crews still worked to replace aging pipes, “but, that’s as far as they said it was gonna go.”

Atmos, meanwhile, is reminding customers who are still waiting to have service restored to watch for notices left on doors and messages from the company regarding the process to restore service. Licensed plumbers will need to check pipelines to the house and gas appliances. Atmos is picking up the tab for needed repairs.