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Apex Propane Customers Will Be Warm for Holidays

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All-State propane company has left some of its customers out in the cold.
APEX — It will be a warm Christmas after all forcustomers left without heat earlier this month by a local gas company. All-Star Gas Company of Apex has agreed to pay customers for the cost ofgetting gas from other companies.

WRAL first told you about the propane problems three weeks ago.

The Attorney General called a news conference to announce that he wassuing All-Star Gas, but Consumer Protection Division attorneys reached anagreement with All Star while the attorney general was telling reportershe planned to sue.

The only thing All-Star's 3,000 customers in the state care aboutis getting paid for their troubles, and not being stranded without heat again.

Maria Houghton says All-Star Gas repeatedly promised her someone wouldbe out to fill her tank, but no one ever showed up.

At least 25 other families complained to the state that All Star wasn'tdelivering propane on time. Tom Kasten told WRAL earlier this month thathe couldn't get gas, even though he prepaid for it.

An All-Star spokeswoman says several drivers left the company to workfor a competitor and All-Star had a hard time replacing them, butNorth Carolina Attorney General Mike Easley says the company sold thepropane knowing it could not supply it.

Why didn't these customers just call up another companyto get propane? It wasn't quite that simple. Under North Carolina law,says Easley, the supplier owns the tanks and must give waivers to allowother companies to fill them.

All-Star has now agreed to an automatic waiver if it can't fill anorder, and has agreed to donate $5,000 to Heat for Homes plus another$5,000 to Warmth for Wake, as part of its settlement. The company says itregrets the inconvenience and has brought in employees from other statesto help them catch up with orders.Now, everyone who complained apparently has heat either throughAll-Star or a new supplier.

Photographer:Terry Cantrell

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