Running on empty

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Seven On Your Side
February 17, 2010 3:04:12 PM PST
You won't find any water on fire trucks in the town of Franklin. They've all been drained because twice this winter, the firehouse has run out of heating oil and can't risk the water freezing up the hoses.The fire department in Franklin is one of hundreds of Able Energy customers who are cold and angry after pre-paying for this winters oil, oil Able was "unable" to deliver but has neglected to inform customers why.

"You can hear it's hollow, there's nothing in there." Wantage resident, Dave Cassell hears a hollow sound when he knocks on his fuel oil tank. He estimates he has a day left before his tank hits empty.

Cassell also pre-paid Able Energy nearly $2,000 last summer to lock in a low price for fuel oil. Trouble is, he says this month the company skipped a scheduled delivery to his house and then couldn't be reached by phone. "I called, waited on the line 45 minutes. I hung up. I need oil."

Figuring he'd run out by tonight, Cassell was forced to pay another company for the gallons he already paid for to keep his home heated - in essence paying two times for heating oil.

So, We went to get the full story from Able Energy in Rockaway. Franklin fire fighter Jim Williams went with us to see if his firehouse will get what its owed.

The president of Able Energy would only speak off camera. He blamed bad weather, a broken phone system, and recent merger for getting behind with his customers' deliveries.

But the company head - Louis Aponte assured 7 on your side, "any Able customer can come to the office and get a refund for an oil delivery, as soon as possible."

Able insists they will eventually make good on their contracts, issuing fire fighters williams a $3800 credit.

"I couldn't reach them for 2 weeks, I call channel 7 and get action the next day," said the Franklin fire fighter.

Later in the day, the fire chief came back to Able offices and was promised a check for the full amount of the remainder of their pre-pay contract, nearly 4 grand. Dave Cassell was also promised a check for the amount of fuel he bought from the rival fuel oil company.

If you are having problems with Able Energy, please call 7 on your side offices, directly at (212) 456-0433.

Story by: Nina Pineda

Produced by: Steve Livingstone