Frigid déjà vu: Southwest Gas preps to avoid another major gas outage
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It was a cold snap to remember. Pipes burst. Gas was out. Homes were frigid. It happened in 2011, but could it happen again this time around?
"It was cold, it was really, really cold in the house," said Rita Ranch resident, Joseph Padilla.
For many throughout the Rita Ranch area, the gas was off for three or four days. Emergency shelters opened up. It became a huge inconvenience for thousands.
"Hopefully they're prepared for it this time," Padilla said.
Fast forward two years and the concern is still there for Rita Ranch residents. So we took those concerns to Southwest Gas to find out if the same thing could happen again.
"No, we don't expect the same thing to happen," Libby Howell, a spokeswoman for the company told 9OYS. "We've been in close contact with El Paso and they are not anticipating any delivery issues at this time."
But if it were to happen again, Southwest Gas says it's ready on its end. They've stationed extra personnel at gas delivery points, ordered extra supplies of natural gas and improved communication with customers.
"We now have a Facebook page," Howell said. "We use Twitter. We do want our customers to trust us and that's why we're taking those precaution measures to make sure we've done what we can."
So for now, homeowners are doing what they can.
"We got a lot of blankets in the house just in case," Padilla said.
They're wrapping pipes, covering plants and hoping a little bit of luck keeps the heat on.
9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked, "Are you crossing your fingers everything goes well this time?" Padilla replied, "Yeah, definitely, hopefully it's under control, but if not, we got my grandma's house again."
Southwest Gas expects things to go smoothly, but they always recommend conservation during these cold spells. They advise everyone to use only what they need should there be an outage.
In case of an emergency, you can call 520-746-1076.