Every once in awhile, and often when least expected, someone in the business of Customer Service will absolutely blow my socks off with a standard of care far above and beyond my wildest expectations. Such has been our experience with Sonigas and this is my opportunity to publicly thank them for their excellent service.
Our propane (el gas) is delivered to our house by truck. Getting the tank filled is as simple as flagging down a passing gas truck. Many of our visitors have experienced Kevin or I suddenly yelling “GAS!!” and racing out the front door to stop the truck as it passes our casa. Yeah, we could just call the office, but where would the fun be in that?
Our propane consumption has been increasing at an alarming rate over the past 6 months. Where $500 pesos used to last us 6 weeks or longer, the last $1000 pesos we added was gone in less than 3 weeks. A week later, another $500 pesos worth of gas – gone!!
Even with a house full of guests, this is a LOT of gas!
We checked all our lines for leaks several times, and found none. When we bought the last batch of gas, we asked the guys from the Sonigas truck for their recommendation. They suggested we call their office and ask them to send a technician out to have a look.
So, I did, and they promised to send someone out that afternoon to have a look. I admit, I was skeptical. We have heard that promise many times before, and “this afternoon” often means “tomorrow”. Sometimes it actually means “call us again next week”. You can imagine, then, how delighted we were to have a technician at our door just a couple of hours later!
The technicians name was Gabriel. He was polite and thoroughly professional. I really did think he was an angel! He checked all our connections, lines and appliances for leaks. He found one small leak, which he fixed. He was not convinced that one tiny leak could be the source of our problems, so he marked the gas meter and left strict instructions to call again in a few days if the gas dropped more than a couple of points.
Which I did, our meter having fallen from 30 to 15 in just 7 days. We and our guests do love to cook, but not THAT much!
A different technician this time, just as professional and thorough in checking as Gabriel was. Every stove was pulled (we have 4), all the lines checked and again, a miniscule leak was found. He fixed that, but questioned that this tiny leak would cause that much propane loss. He also gave us a quick lesson in the care of our propane tank. Did you know it likes to be in the sun? We didn’t, and had allowed our trees to grow quite wild around it. He suggested that we cut all the branches back and allow the sun to reach it to prevent premature rust issues. Ok. Done.
With the second small leak now fixed, we flagged the truck down on its way past the other morning. I was surprised when the drivers asked if the leak issue had been solved. I told them that the technicians had checked everything, but were unable to find the reason for our disappearing propane. I joked that Kevin would just have to take me out to dinner more often so I wouldn’t be using our gas stove so much.
The next day, we received a phone call from the Sonigas office telling us they were not completely satisfied that our problem had been dealt with and they were sending an independent contractor with additional technical equipment to search for our leak. I had to repeat all this back to her to be sure I understood because this NEVER happens, but yes, she confirmed that THEY wanted to send someone else out to check for us, if it was alright with us. UMmmm, ok.
Sergio Martinez arrived that very afternoon with the usual tricks of the trade designed to find and repair gas leaks, plus several more. He was here a couple of hours and found no new leaks. He even went so far as to call the office, to confirm the last couple of deliveries, thinking that the pump on the gas truck may be improperly calibrated. Wow.
He taught us the calculation so we can be sure that we are getting all the gas we are paying for and told us to do the calculation BEFORE we pay for the gas each and EVERY time! I asked if the drivers would not be offended that we were checking on them, and he said “no, they are probably wondering why you aren’t already doing it.” Ok, I will do it, but it will feel weird. He just smiled.
The Calculation: read your meter before gas goes in and after. Subtract one from the other and multipy that number by how many litres your tank holds. That will give you the number of litres pumped into your tank, which should match the number of litres on your bill. Simple.
We are leak free, by the way, and the calculation has confirmed the truck is pumping the correct amount of gas into our tank. After much frustration and discussion, we have narrowed the source of our disappearing gas to our hot water heater. It works well, but it is old, and perhaps inefficient. So, we have drained and cleaned it and if that doesn’t work, we could be calling Sr Martinez (firstname.lastname@example.org) to install a new hot water tank.
I should also mention that ALL of this care and attention we have received from Sonigas has been free of charge and always with a smile. In a world where the negative often overshadows the positive, I could not allow the opportunity to tell a happy story and to say THANK YOU to a business that offers such excellent customer service slip by me.