Serving the High Plains

Customers report late propane deliveries

Numerous customers of Pinnacle Propane in Quay County last week reported late deliveries of propane as colder temperatures began to arrive, including one client who still hadn’t received her order six weeks after she placed it.

Four Pinnacle customers called or talked to the Quay County Sun by phone or instant message last week about late deliveries of propane. More made similar comments on a Facebook thread by posted by the Sun.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office also announced in mid-December an investigation about the lack of available propane from vendors in the northern part of the state.

Sherri Muncy said she placed an order in mid-November for Pinnacle to fill the propane tank at her home in Logan. She said in a phone interview early last week that Pinnacle’s delivery driver still hadn’t shown up.

Muncy said she knew of at least five other people in Logan whose propane deliveries were late. She said she didn’t anticipate running out of the fuel, but she was concerned about others’ situations — especially elderly or disabled people on fixed incomes — because of bitterly cold temperatures in last weekend’s forecast.

Muncy said Pinnacle also tried to charge a $25 late fee for her last delivery. She said she previously made two payments to cover the balance due before the deadline. Muncy said Pinnacle also wants customers to prepay before deliveries.

“Pinnacle has become one of the worst (companies) I’ve dealt with,” she said.

Logan, unlike Tucumcari, does not have a natural gas vendor such as New Mexico Gas Co. in the village. Residents who want warmth in their homes must use electrical heat, wood-burning stoves or propane.

Janice Cross said in a phone interview her husband, noting their propane tank’s level had fallen below 30%, ordered more for their Logan home on Dec. 20. Pinnacle promised to deliver before Christmas, but its truck didn’t show.

Fearing they would run out, they stopped using propane for days. They stopped cooking, and temperatures in their home dropped into the 50s at night.

“I’m not freezing to death, but I’m not comfortable,” she said.

Pinnacle’s truck arrived Dec. 28, shortly after Cross talked to the Sun by phone.

Cross said she also knew of a local business that called Pinnacle three times before it delivered propane.

Susan Elrod of Logan said in a phone interview that Pinnacle’s deliveries of propane now take five to seven days. Not long ago, she said, it was next-day service. She attributed the slower service to Pinnacle closing its offices in Tucumcari and Clovis.

Elrod also said Pinnacle no longer will deliver propane if the order is fewer than 100 gallons.

“I don’t think that’s right,” she said.

Angie Chavez of Logan said she’s heard complaints from neighbors about late delivery of propane.

“You have to keep calling and calling,” she said last week in a phone interview. “They’re very hard to get. They put you on a waiting list. They say they don’t have enough drivers.”

Several county residents last week voiced similar delivery complaints about Pinnacle in a Quay County Sun post on social media.

Maureen Melanson Orgass: “I ordered two weeks ago. Called again last week. Still nothing.”

Mike Roberts: “I called yesterday and was told it would not happen before January 10.”

Pinnacle Propane, based in Irving, Texas, received an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, which has logged 60 online complaints about the company in the past 12 months. Many were from customers who didn’t have propane delivered in a timely manner or the company not responding to calls.

Pinnacle Propane on Nov. 30 posted on Facebook, urging customers to email the company if delivery of propane was overdue or had bad customer experiences.

“Due to the peak season, we are facing high call volume,” the company stated. “We apologize for the inconvenience and assure you of expedited response.”

An email to Pinnacle’s corporate office requesting comment was not answered.

The complaints came shortly after the New Mexico’s attorney general issued an advisory in response to rising propane costs and unavailability of the fuel in the northern part of the state.

“I’ve initiated an investigation and a review of the propane industry because I’m concerned about the safety of families during the frigid winter season,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said. “While we know that there are reputable propane energy providers, it’s important to identify where the system can be improved.”

The attorney general’s office also sued Colorado-based Bob’s LP Gas for failing to provide propane it was contracted to deliver to customers in northern New Mexico.

The company’s owner told KRQE-TV in Albuquerque it had lost a driver, and one truck had failed inspection.

Jerri Mares, director of communications for the attorney general, stated in an email Thursday her office had not received complaints about Pinnacle for non-delivery of propane.