Gas Company Austin

Southwest Austin customers fight gas company
February 20, 2020 – 11:15 am

gas-meterAUSTIN (KXAN) – Hundreds of people in a Southwest Austin neighborhood say they are being ripped off by Texas Community Propane, their propane provider.

Gas bills are at an all-time high, with some customers paying $1, 200 a month. Two women are leading the fight. Larisa Bourgeois and Amanda Stanley have organized hundreds of people living in the master planned community, and are now collecting money to retain a high profile attorney to take on the gas company.

“It’s been outrageous, ” said Stanley. “There’s been a lot of questions that we can’t get answered by the developer. We’ve gone to Texas Community Propane, as well, but we can’t seem to get anything so we are running into a dead end.”

Residents are not only upset about the cost, but what they call a “secret deal”.

A contract, they say, was not included in any of the residents closing papers, but still commits them to years of TCP, with little option. It’s a deal signed by the developer, Eric Willis, and the owner of TCP.

Residents in the Dripping Springs Belterra community say they're stuck using expensive propane.KXAN obtained a copy of the contract signed by Willis and Barton Prideaux, owner of Texas Community Propane. The contract is a 30 year, automatically renewing deal that not only dictates Belterra residents use propane, but that they only use Texas Community Propane. Should the community choose to sever ties, the contract reads that the gas company must also agree to walk away. That’s a scenario that doesn’t seem likely in a community planned to eventually have close to 2, 000 homes.

The contract also holds residents to a “break fee”. That is, if a resident wants to convert their home to natural gas or electric, they must send a certified letter to TCP, and they must pay a fee between $950 and $1, 500.

“I want to stay here I love the neighborhood. I love the schools. I want my kids to go to school here but this is definitely a hindrance, ” Stanley said.

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