Natural Gas Service Interrupted in Swifton

December 4, 2003 -- posted at: 10:30pm

SWIFTON, AR - An unusual number of customers from Swifton started calling the CenterPoint Energy Arkla customer service line around 11 this morning. Service to their homes had stopped.

"Dispatch called and asked if we had a crew in the area working, and we didn't have a crew here," said Steven Lewis, Area Manager for CenterPoint Energy Arkla.

Technicians discovered that for some unknown reason, CenterPoint Energy lost a gas connection to its' supplier. That's when workers from across the state went into action.

Lewis explained, "Every single household has to be manually turned off, so that we can go back and do a safety check."

Once service to each home was cut, the main gas lines were purged of oxygen that had leaked in when the gas supply was interrupted. Soon gas flow at substations was restored. Then, workers returned to each house to switch meters back on, and re-ignite pilot lights.

Customer Jewel Blazer said, "We made pretty good. We have that little electric heater over there. We've been running off and on."

Eleven hours, 70 workers and hundreds of house calls later, most customers were back online.

"...and if someone not home after we get through with a couple of passes, we'll hang a note on their door with a number to call, and we can come back out and turn it back on," said Steven Lewis.

Jewel Blazer said she could have made-do with her space heater if needed.

"If it didn't, I've got plenty of cover," added Blazer.