Otterton family shiver as mix-up leaves them without gas

Journal prevents Otterton family from facing Christmas without heating

AN OTTERTON family have been saved from a chilly Christmas after being left in the cold by their gas supplier Flogas.

Despite centimetres of snow on the ground, former Journal reporter Emma Silverthorne (now Cooling) and her husband Steve, their baby and toddler had been feeling the chill after being forced the turn their heating to the lowest level to save gas.

Emma, of Behind Hayes, contacted her newspaper colleagues after, she claimed their calls to Flogas, which should have topped their gas supply up months ago, were being ignored.

The family are on the suppliers’ Top-up scheme which promises to ‘ensure your tank is regularly filled without the need for you to order’.

Despite this, the Coolings had not had a delivery since July and their tank gauge day before Christmas was showing the lowest possible reading with an estimated 24 hours worth of gas left to power their heating and hot water supply on December 23.

Emma, 32, said: “We realised we hadn’t had a delivery for some months and checked the gauge on Monday. We called Flogas straight away but, despite several promises to return our calls, they did not called back with a delivery date.

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“We understand the weather is disrupting supply and delivery but we should have been topped up months ago. With a baby and a toddler in the house I would hope we would be on a priority list.”

Forced to turn the heating right down, she added: “The house is already cold and is clearly going to get a lot colder. Our gas consumption is not at all excessive, we are always careful but there is no way that any family could survive on one delivery a year which is all we have had so far.”

After Flogas failed to contact the family on Wednesday to tell them when they could expect another delivery, Emma emailed the company’s managing director, Henry Cubbon and the Journal contacted him as well.

He said: “They are getting a delivery today (December 23). We do appear to have had a blip in the Top-up service on her account and I will be looking at that to see how she got missed off.”

He described the oversight as “a one-off event” and blamed human error in setting up the Cooling’s account for this.

However, this is not the first time the family has run out of gas after the Top-up scheme failed to ensure they received a delivery on time.

On Christmas Eve, Emma and her visiting relatives from New Zealand, were feeling a lot warmer after Flogas kept its promise and delivered the vital LPG gas.

She said: “Having spent the week worrying about the prospect of a very cold Christmas it is such a relief to have a full tank of gas.

“The driving conditions were far from ideal and we are grateful to the driver of the tanker for his mercy mission!

“It is a shame that the lead-up to Christmas has been marred by the hassle of trying to secure a delivery and get a response from Flogas about our ongoing problems but the main thing is that the issue has been resolved, thanks to the intervention of the Journal!”