86-year-old Tremonton woman left without heat for days after Questar Gas billing mistake

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 4:37 p.m. MST

Questar Gas cut off the gas to Beth Ballard's Tremonton home for several days. The company said it was a mistake and someone should have turned it back on immediately when the family called Friday to report they had no heat.

Mike Radice, Deseret News

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TREMONTON, Box Elder County — Questar Gas officials have apologized to an elderly woman for cutting off the gas to her home and then not responding to turn it back on for several days.

Beth Ballard, 86, spent Christmas with family, and when she returned home Thursday night, her Tremonton home was quite cold. The next day, she realized her gas had been shut off.

Ballard and her sons called Questar's emergency 24-hour service number to figure out what was going on. However, the family was told repeatedly they would have to wait until Monday morning.

"We called the emergency number and were basically told there's nothing they could do, (that it) was a billing problem (and we had) to go through the service department," said Ballard's son Ross Ballard.

Her account was current and even had a credit on it, so it was unclear why her service was shut off.

A few days before the gas was shut off, Questar discovered that Ballard's husband, who was named on the account, was deceased. They told her to update the account information within 48 hours to avoid a shutoff. Ballard updated the account information, but the gas was still shut off.

"Where we fell down and made our mistake is that for some reason the shutoff order was not canceled," said Questar spokesman Steve Chapman. "We deeply regret the errors we made that led to what I can only imagine was a frustrating and serious situation for (the family)."

Questar representatives admitted the call to the emergency service number should have been treated as a "no-heat" call with the current freezing temperatures, and that someone should have been sent out immediately to turn the gas back on.

Email: aforester@deseretnews.com

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