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Tom Bodette made the phrase famous for Motel 6, but it's pretty fitting for this Middle Tennessee gas company.
Lisa Mickle/ Gas customer "It's like they're burning your money and they don't care."
The Elk River Public Utility District, which serves Coffee and Franklin
counties, admittedly leaves the gas lights on around the clock 365
days a year. We checked several different times of day and night. And
they left the light on for us...
The Mickle's are on a fixed income...
Mickle / Gas Customer "It seems like if they're going to burn that
money why don't they just pay our gas bill for us because we sure can't
afford it. Every penny matters every single penny matters... always."
The gas company's general manager didn't deny they're always on.... Mike Gundersen says it's part of doing business.
Gundersen/ Elk River Public Utility District "Stacy, these these
particular lights in the front where we're trying to promote natural
gas. They have a valve on there and we have to keep it up high enough so
the wind doesn't blow it out because frequently if it's a windy day.
The wind will blow it out. You can turn them on and off right there."
Stacy asks: "If you wanted to turn them out you'd come out open the window and press that down?"
Gundersen says, "uhuh"
Stacy asks: "And you don't think somebody should be assigned that daily.. to turn that off?"
says: "Part of what we think our mission is to is to promote natural
gas. These gas lights are designed to burn all day. We could do this,
but I would rather have a gas light burning when a customer drives by or
comes by to visit elk river than have one that's out."
Ben Mickle/ Gas customer
"You don't need to advertise because you can't get it anywhere else."
River has a monopoly on the gas market. It's a public utility which
means it's funded by rate payers and is not for profit.
Mickle / Gas Customer "I don't know the volume of gas that's wasted,
but I hate to see anything wasted. There's no point in it. They could
be turned off in the day time and turned back on at night."
Case says on camera "Though this is the main Elk River Gas Company
location, there are two others and they too leave the lights on 24/ 7.
Besides this office in Tullahoma, there's an office in
Manchester and another in Winchester. The lights cost roughly $12 each
to operate per month. We did the math and it costs $2016 a year to
keep all the lights at all three locations burning around the clock.
If Elk River turned them off during the day, that would save about $1000
Mike Gundersen / Elk River GM "In our area the
electric power is a lot more expensive than natural gas. We're the most
economical energy available in our area. So it's kind of ironic. We'll
leave the gas lights on, . but if you look at this office, the electric
lights are out most of our computers are out. So we try to save in other
areas but to promote gas that's what we're here to do.
Still, the Mickle's say it's been bothering them.
Ben Mickle says, "I figured they'd tell me it wasn't any of my business and they may be right.. (laughs..)
Wednesday, November 7 2012, 11:09 PM CST
Man facing extradition for murder claims innocence
June 17, 2013 20:24 GMT
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A former U.S. Marine facing extradition to the Philippines on double murder charges says he is innocent.
Timothy Kaufman has been in jail since his arrest in April at business near his grandfather's Albany-area home. The 35-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., is one of three men charged by Philippine authorities with killing a retired Northern Ireland police officer and his girlfriend in 2011.
Authorities claim it was a premeditated killing in an area known for its sometimes-seamy club scene.
In a handwritten letter sent to the media from jail, Kaufman says he would never do something as "heinous and stupid" as killing the couple. He says he left the country after the killings because he feared for his safety.
An extradition hearing is scheduled for June 25 in Albany federal court.
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