December 21, 2009

Why Arrow Gas Company Sucks More Than Phytophera infestans

Anyone who keeps a greenhouse in a cold climate knows the risks of power failures or malfunctioning heaters. On this weekend before Christmas, I almost lost an entire collection of rare plants, precious imported bulbs and other jems that would be difficult, if not impossible to replace due to their age or scarcity. This loss would not be because of the Blizzard we experienced this weekend, with 18 inches of snow, nor would it be because of the bitter cold temperatures that we also are getting, with wind chills near 9 below zero and it wouldn't be because of our furnace not working, for as you know from earlier postings, we just installed a new one. Nope, instead, the loss of an entire collection cultured and grown and nurtured over a dozen years now, would be the result of the policy of my gas company. Arrow Gas in Rochdale, Ma, and I'm not very happy about it, in fact, I pissed.

It started on Thursday evening, when I arrived home from work late at night, I went out to check the gas tank and remembered that the new meter installed on it has a cover, which is semi transparent, but difficult to read and see how much gas is left in the tank. The same thing happened last year, when we decided to move the tank so that it would be closer to the road, so the gas man would not have to trudge through deep snow and dangerous terriers to get to the tank every 10 days. Arrow installed a new tank, with an automatic reading device that doesn't work, but which they included anyway. On Friday morning, I saw that it said that 15% gas was left in the tank. I know from 12 years of running this greenhouse, that on cold, sunnless days in the winter, that I use 5% per day, and with a weekend coming that was featuring not only bone cold temps in the teens, that also we we're slated to get nailed with a nor-easter. SO I called the Arrow Gas company, and asked when I might get my next delivery since I had 15% gas left, and a storm was coming, and that for the past 3 years, on this very same weekend in December which seems to signal the first major refill of the year, they always seems to let the tank go empty before they would come. Last year, I called on Sunday morning, when the tank ran out ( see posting from last Dec), and I was told that I would be fined $150. for making then come on an 'unscheduled' delivery. I ended up paying it a week before Christmas.

Now, I was giving them a three and a half day notice that said basically, that I think I'm going to run out of gas in a day or two, is there anything you can do about it? And the answer was " well, I guess we could make a deliver on Monday". I told them that that was risky since I know how fast my greenhouse eats gas, and that there was a storm, and, and, and. The answer was " sorry, you're due for a delivery on Weds, so the best we can do is to move you up to MOnday. OF course, now, we are SUnday night, and out of gas. The greenhouse is freezing solid, and Arrow's delivery man basically told us "sorry, it's too late, and we don't like to make deliveries after 11:00 PM ( we called at 11:15). So he is sleeping now, and we've been up all night trying to save what we can.

Now, on Friday, the cranky woman in the Arrow office told me that I was not scheduled for a delivery until next Weds. the 23rd. I asked if I could be put on the Friday schedule, and that I would even pay for the new fee of Off-Delivery Charge for $275.00, but she said that the best she could do would be to push me up to a Monday delivery, and that I had enough gas.

KNowing full well that I would run out over the stormy weekend, Joe and I ran to 2 Home Depots and a Lowes, and stocked up on a major propane heater, and some portable electric room heaters, to get by and to calm my nerves. Of course, now, here on a Sunday night, we run out of gas, and it is the coldest night of the year, at 9 degrees, and with single pane glass, I decided at 11:10 PM that I woudl give in and call the gas company and pay out of my ass, all of the new fines and fees outlined on their new letter of policy, and get the tank filled, since the new furnace ran out of gas, and the pots we're frosting up faster than that lady who works in the Arrow Gas office.

We called, and got the answering service who told us that we should get a call back in 20 minutes from the off hours delivery person. Five minutes later we get the call, and the man tells us that he's not coming out, since it's after 11 at night, and that's that. We'll have to wait until MOnday! Joe told him that "so, what are we supposed to do? :Let all of our plants die? ANd he said, yes.". I couldn't believe his rudeness and attitude, I mean, I just could not believe that a business could be managed this way!

You know, I'm a reasonable guy, and I would understand limited service if this was a major disaster, an ice storm, or if priorities had to be managed because of elderly not getting heat, or families. But to have someone tell you to your face "Nope" "Im in bed, too late" then I get a little ticked. Surely they must think I'm a crazy plant geek, but hey, I am. Regardless, we pay for this service, if you call it that, if anything, it's abusive and unsulting.

SOrry to gripe about this, but right now, it's 5:00 AM and we've been up all night trying to rescue plants, and running around to every Walgreens and Super Market that is open 24 hours buying every portable heating device we can get ( there are now 7 heaters in the greenhouse, and the gas in the portables is starting to go, plus a grill, and a few blown fuses, but the temp seems to be around 38 degrees in there. SO our fingers are crossed!!!

The good news is Joe called some competitive Gas suppliers, and they are already willing to come and replace our tank and let us be new customers, and one, Suburban PRopane, already informed us in a very human and friendly voice, that they service 24/7 365 days a year. And that this would never happen.

STill, I am shocked that this company is still in business, since this is the third time they have done this to me ( let the tank run out, and then act as if it's my fault, and my problem. I'm sure later this morning, I'll get zonked with more 'punishment fees!" Letters wil be written, calls will be made, but at the end of the day, the big message is that some businesses just shouldn't be in business, especially when the customer is always wrong, and punished.

Sorry for the rant, but I've been up for 36 hours now, and of course, it's the longest night of the year, as we await for the sun which is due to come out today, since it rises at jsut after 7:00 AM. Still, hours to go before we are safe.


  1. It's 7:20 AM hope outof danger and your collection made it.

    Good luck with the new propane company.

  2. Roselie1:52 PM

    I hope that everything will be alright Matt!!

  3. Oh Matt, I'm so sorry that happened to you...I'm glad you have switched to a new service and hope you saved the most valuable stock!Here's to a new and better year!!{and gas company...)

  4. Anonymous10:22 PM

    Wow, did everything turn out okay? What a nightmare,definitely you need to try another gas company.

  5. Sounds like you made the best of a bad situation and got a post out of it. Stay warm. Consider moving south. We usually only get to 27 degrees. That 9 thing is a little to cold for my tastes!

  6. Anonymous2:01 PM

    Im a great customer as well but the people at Arrow Gas have the ability to piss anyone off. Your right, the office staff is rude and the endless fees, fines and high prices just keep coming.

  7. Anonymous5:18 PM

    Yes, Arrow Gas porked me, too.

    In your bill you get all these 'helpful hints and tips' suggesting ways to save fuel... but if you actually do them, they come after you.

    We cut our fuel use in half, and the next thing you know they show up to take our tank, accusing us of buying gas from some other company simply because we added insulation. PetroNazis...

    Dude you absolutely positively MUST get a 'salamander' oil-fired shop heater, they run about 250 dollars and use ANY of the following:

    Home Heating Oil
    (I've even used old citronella that needed to be used up, not recommended, lol)

    These heaters bang out crazy cheap BTU's and get large spaces warmed up in minutes. You can run 'em on a gallon of whatever every 4 hours.

    It works out to about a buck an hour, even at todays crazy prices... and no way will you need to run one constantly. One hour on two hours off under the most severe of conditions, is more like it.

    Many people claim they are unsafe and while there is some truth to it, you can make them safer by pulling the fuel line out of the bottom tank and feeeding the burner from a portable 1 gallon jug. Don't pour nothing in the factory tank.

    Tell Arrow Gas "up yours".


Oh yes, do leave me a comment!