Jan 28 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
BOSSES at BP have issued an apology to residents in Stirlingshire and beyond who were forced to shiver through the worst of the winter as a result of delivery delays.
And management at the global firm have pledged that “lessons will be learned” in a bid to avoid a repeat of recent events.
Dollar couple Jan Pieter and Josine Atsama claimed they had to endure a near six-week waiting game before their household gas tank was topped up.
Their story has struck a chord with many families across the region.
Jan, who works from home as a web designer, and wife Josine took over a contract with BP in November when they moved to Glensherrup Cottage from Muckhart.
On December 13, with wintry conditions biting, they realised gas levels in their 1200-litre tank were down to 35 per cent and asked for more to be sent out.
A fortnight later BP contacted them for an upfront payment and, on December 29, the would-be recipients stumped up more than £500.
Despite assurances the requested fuel would take a maximum of seven days to reach them, they remained without their order until Saturday, January 22.
Mr Atsama said: “We had to buy electric heaters, which were very expensive. We kept our gas central heating at a maximum of 15 degrees and used electric heaters in the two main rooms to conserve what was left of our supply.
“There were times when it was --14°C outside and, due to the nature of my work, I’m home all the time.
“A small truck arrived on Saturday and, thankfully, the landlord directed him to the house.
“They said that they had made five attempts to deliver the gas but we have not heard anything from BP about this.”
A spokesperson for the power company denied Mr Atsama’s claim that drivers took five attempts to replenish his tank, but did admit to one aborted mission due to icy roads.
He added the disgruntled Dollar residents would not be reimbursed after forking out for the heaters, which cost in the region of £150, due to the exceptional conditions at the time.
The representative continued: “The bad weather caused dangerous driving conditions which disrupted both supply of gas to us and our ability to distribute it.
“Under these difficult circumstances our operations were severely limited, with our drivers encountering many side roads and customer properties covered in ice and snow.
“We had to ensure the safety of our drivers, and other motorists.
“When we have a delivery backlog it is our policy to try to deliver gas to the most vulnerable customers we are aware of first.
“However, for the reasons stated above, this was not always possible.
“We take this reduction in our services levels very seriously and will be conducting a full investigation, reviewing all feedback and learning lessons.
“BP knows that our customers’ gas supply is crucial and our commitment remains to do everything we can to safely deliver the gas they need.
“We would like to express our sincere apologies to all customers affected by a reduction in our recent service levels.”