Leaving one's gas delivery company (in a planned development)

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Hi all,
I live in a development where a certain gas company owns most of the gas tanks, mine included (through a deal with the developer of course). The home is heated with LPG and I have a 1000 gallon tank. Being a monopoly that they are, they pretty much do whatever they want regarding prices and, although I can understand gas price fluctuations due to market, they keep raising their own fees for no reason that's apparent to me. I've received a second notice about them raising the service/delivery/labor/whathaveyou fees in less than 3 years that I live here, approx. 20% this time.
My gas company is couple towns over from me although there is another one right here in town, so I'm tempted to see what my options are and try to change the gas delivery company.
I do realize that them owning the tank puts me at a big disadvantage because I basically have to purchase the tank from them before I hire another company. However, there may be other expenses I don't know about that I should account for making the decision to leave, like the new company having to spend several hours onsite "evaluating" the pipes and furnace, or some such.
I wonder if there are people here that have successfully made the switch that can comment on what's involved in a move like that and what hidden expenses to watch for. Thanks!
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DA wrote:

Every place is different as are the distributors...pick up the phone and call.
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On Mon, 15 Nov 2010 17:53:14 +0000, info_at_1-script_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (DA) wrote Re Leaving one's gas delivery company (in a planned development):

No you don't have to purchase the tank. Your new company will provide the tank, probably on a rental basis or possibly "free" as long as you buy your gas from the new company. Check what the new company has to offer. Shop around.
You will probably be able to arrange for the new company to deliver the new tank and fill it and then come back and switch the line to the new tank when the old tank is empty. Then you can call the old company and tell them to come and pick up their tank.
--
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Leaving-one-s-gas-delivery-company-in-a-planned-development-604253-.htm DA wrote: Caesar Romano wrote:

Thank you for your suggestions, Caesar, but I would have to admit that digging the tank out (it's buried) is a show stopper for sure. I would of course much prefer if the new gas company "inherited" the tank under some provision. I have heard horror stories about tanks leaking and homeowners having to refill 800+ gallons (and potentially liable for a damage) when the homeowner owns the tank outright. I guess, I would prefer that the gas company also had a stake in keeping the system leak free and operational.
I am planning on shopping around, indeed. Just looking for people's suggestions about what important questions to ask the potential new delivery company.
Thanks for your suggestions, everyone!
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info_at_1-script_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (DA) wrote:

Since that comes with the homeowner association, do you even have a choice or is it mandated by the covenants? The second question, which I haven't a clue about, is this tying legal? One of the developments in the area tried to make it mandatory that you sign up with their internet provider. I know there was some dust-up, but I don't know the outcome.
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On Mon, 15 Nov 2010 14:59:23 -0500, Kurt Ullman wrote:

Around here the city automatically signs its residents up for a aggregate plan for gas 'providers' that you can opt out and chose your own with no penalty. As far as delivery goes that's handled by the local gas company responsible for the hardware.
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New company won't touch the old company's tank. You'd have to buy it first. They may or may not be willing to sell it to you and the price will be high. New company won't take ownership of your used tank either.
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DA wrote:

Psst: Most likely, you own the tank.
Things (buried tanks, fences, carports, decks, etc.) permantly attached to real property almost always become part of the land-owners real property.
"The difference between real property and personal property is ordinarily easily recognizable. The character of the property, however, can be altered. Property that is initially personal in nature becomes part of realty by being annexed to it, such as when rails are made into a fence on land."
Review "additions to real property"
http://www.answers.com/topic/property-law
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Leaving-one-s-gas-delivery-company-in-a-planned-development-604253-.htm DA wrote: HeyBub wrote:

Well, it would be nice it it were the case but I think here I have suspended my ownership (or granted the gas company a sort of easement) by signing an "Underground Tank Agreement" before even moving in. I believe the realtor had me sign it at the settlement although, curiously, there is no date on the agreement to refresh my memory on when it was signed. I was buying the home owned, not directly from the developer.
The agreement stipulates in its first sentence that: "This will confirm that the X Oil Co. owns the 1000 gallon underground Propane Gas Tank located at the above property and it is agreed that all propane gas will be purchased from X Oil Co. which will maintain the tank and regulators associated with this installation, so long as it remains the property of X Oil Co."
The agreement gives me right to re-purchase the tank at "pro-rates basis" (meaning of which I don't quite understand - the tank itself does not get used up or worn out) or pay the Co. $1500 plus labor to empty and remove (dig out in my case) the tank.
Since digging it out is not really an option (not the one I would go for if I had a choice, anyway) due to a very inconvenient location, fencing, landscaping etc., I'm left with purchasing the tank from the Co. Does anyone have any idea about a fair price to pay in this case?
Also, if there is a different way to read the "property of X. Oil Co." stipulation, I would love to know more details.
Thanks!
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DA wrote:

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Leaving-one-s-gas-delivery-company-in-a-planned-development-604253-.htm

when buying a house. Example: a forced cable tv contract, or in your case a forced contract to an oil firm. Which makes the said contract extension null and void. We are even advised to just sign the house sale contract, because any such "riders" in the contract are illegal. You might check into that,and also check with the ?small biz.. bureau?.
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DA wrote:

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Leaving-one-s-gas-delivery-company-in-a-planned-development-604253-.htm
Ah, okay. You signed away your rights. They said "Bend over and I'll drive you home," and you did.
I guess you could dig it up yourself. Looks like its about a yard wide, nine feet long, and weighs between 900 and 1000 pounds (empty).
Still, you're not a pioneer. Your company's competitors have been through this before. Give 'em a call.
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On Nov 15, 5:00pm, info_at_1-script_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (DA) wrote:

Ain't gonna be no fair price. They got you over a barrel. Either you pay their exorbitant price to buy the tank, or you pay the $1500 to dig it out, or you continue buying their gas.
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Leaving-one-s-gas-delivery-company-in-a-planned-development-604253-.htm DA wrote: snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Bad wording, you're right. I wasn't even thinking theirs would be fair. I guess, I'd love to know how far from "fair" they are :) They want $5000 for the 4y.o. 1000 gallon LPG tank. Anyone knows how much installing a new 1000-gallon buried tank may cost?
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On Wed, 17 Nov 2010 20:39:30 +0000, info_at_1-script_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (DA) wrote Re Re: Leaving one's gas delivery company (in a planned development):

The best answer to that question will come from your local gas dealers. You'll have to get an estimate from them for installing a tank that you will purchase from them and they will install after they remove the existing tank and place it where in can be picked up by it's owner.
That's the only way you will get information accurate enough to make an informed decision.
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On 11/15/2010 11:53 AM, DA wrote:

there's no reason at all you shouldn't be able to buy LP from whom ever you please. And if the first company owns the tank, tell them to come get it out the way , now!
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After carefully reading the current contract to find out what the charge (if any) is for removing said tank, of course. Personally, I'd call a few competitors and ask them what the usual local solution is for this situation.
There's a couple of factors to consider. Around here, the dealers rent tanks for about 1/15 of what they sell for new. That is, $75/yr to rent, $1000 to buy. Given the time value of money and the fact that the tanks have to be recertified every 20 years, buying isn't as straightforward as it seems. It does give you the freedom to call around and get prices every refill, but depending on the weather and accessibility of the tank, you lose the guaranteed delivery of a contract fill.
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NIGHT

I have been lurking in this thread from the start.
I like Steve's answer the best.
I have not had any LP dealings for many years but the tank, the install and safety check were always included as the cost of doing business.
Colbyt
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I changed gas providers a couple of years after moving in my new house. Original tank was under a lease plan so had to buy the gas from them. BUT they always forgot to let me in on their pre-buy price plan that locks in a low price before the heating season started. My tank was buried too. Contacted another company that had good plans. Asked them to take over my tank. Said they could unbury the old tank and put it out for company to pick up. Then they asked how old tank was I said 3 years. They contacted current leaser and although they were reluctant and dragged their feet they finally sold my buried tank to new company. Tank is now owned by new provider and still leased. Got great pre-season prices now. No problems.
On Mon, 15 Nov 2010 17:53:14 +0000, info_at_1-script_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (DA) wrote:

email response not expected but to respond remove .uk at end TIA Hank
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Leaving-one-s-gas-delivery-company-in-a-planned-development-604253-.htm DA wrote:
Hank wrote:

Thank you for sharing, Hank. Do I understand correctly that you did not really have to pay for the tank outright, other than over time through the purchase of gas from the new company, of course. Did the new company want to do any tests on the tank/lines before taking it over?
Thanks again!
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DA wrote:

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Leaving-one-s-gas-delivery-company-in-a-planned-development-604253-.htm
i own my 500 gallon buried tank. i get a quote from 5 different places before filling it about once/year. some didn't have any inspection before first delivery, some did. none have asked to reinspect.
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