Atmos Call Center Problems Has Customers Turning to Non-Profit Organizations for Help

Several bouts of frigid weather over the past month  have many Texoma residents digging deep to pay high utility bills.
However, for some Atmos Energy customers, their gas bills are high, possibly for another reason.
And as Mechell Dixon found out, customer cannot get answers because they cannot get in touch with the company.

Atmos Energy's call centers across texas are now working but earlier today they were down because of technical issues.
So, many customers, trying to get answers and help with high bills, turned to two local non-profit organizations for assistance.

The United Way's 211 call center is dealing with a high number of calls about utility bills.

"Some electric but mainly it's been gas and within the past two and a half days we've taken almost a month's worth of calls specifically for gas assistance," says Brent Smith, manager of the United Way 211 Call Center.

Interfaith ministries is also receiving a spike in calls regarding gas bills.
Organization officials say numerous callers have told them Atmos Energy switched to a new billing system with new account numbers around October 2012 through March 2013.
During the switch, agency officials say they are getting reports that many clients did not receive a bill each month.
Now, they're getting them and calling Interfaith for help.

"Some of these bills range anywhere from a couple of months worth, which is $300 to seven months worth, which can be up to $500 to $600," says Chad Crowley

To make matters worse, many customers say they have received termination notices from Atmos and with the call center down, they cannot contact the company.
Atmos officials will not confirm if the billing change customers are complaining about is the reason for the high bills and termination notices but Atmos officials say gas services will not be terminated-- yet.

"Customers who have received a termination notice will not have their gas turned off for non-payment until the phone system is restored to normal," says Randy West, public affairs manager for Atmos Energy.

Atmos officials says about 30 minutes ago the problem with call centers around the state were fixed and customers can now call and make arrangements to pay their bills or have service reconnected, provided they have paid their outstanding bill.
And Atmos officials crews will not disconnect service until Tuesday. 

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