Atmos apologizes to customers for heating interruptions, energy experts hope state investigation digs deeper

Atmos Energy responded to Gov. Greg Abbott's call for an investigation into the company after some Texans lost heat during last week's arctic blast.

The company apologized in a statement saying it "fell short" for some customers who experienced interruptions in their natural gas service.

"I had it set for 74 always, but upstairs it was actually 47 and downstairs it was 60!" said Richard Trotter, a Grand Prairie resident and Atmos customer FOX 4 talked to last week who experienced low natural gas pressure.

Wednesday, Gov. Abbott asked two state agencies to investigate Atmos calling last week's problems a failure.

READ MORE: Areas of North Texas having issues with natural gas due to arctic blast

Bruce Bullock, the director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU, says the governor is making Atmos a scapegoat for the larger problems of the Texas energy grid.

"They're the easiest one to point a finger at. And I'll be real frank with you, I have Atmos at my house, and I had a little gas at my house, but I don't necessarily think, you know, it's something nefarious or something that Atmos didn't do. I think it's a system problem," said Bullock.

The problem wasn't just in North Texas, customers in the Austin area were impacted as well.

"Woke up to a house that was 58 degrees," said Ryan Pew from Hutto.

Abbott said Atmos failed to prepare for the winter weather.

Bullock is hoping the Railroad Commission looks further than Atmos in their investigation.

"They're going to have to look at not only Atmos, but they're going to have to look at the pipelines behind Atmos and were the pipelines in fact, getting their gas and really whether the whole system was capable of putting enough gas into eventually to households to meet their needs," he said.

FOX 4 reached out to Atmos for a response to the governor's request.

They company sent a statement saying:

The Railroad Commission told FOX 4 a day before Gov. Abbott's request they have already started an investigation into Atmos.

As for the possible consequences Atmos could face, Bullock says fines are possible, but it is likely nothing serious will happen.

"I think they have it within their power, probably for fines and things of that nature. But I don't know, you know, if there's anything that's much, much deeper than that," Bullock said.