ThompsonGas

The Maryland-based family-owned ThompsonGas was founded in 1946. Its covers 10 states through 41 locations (in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia) and serves 190,000 customers with propane throughout the East and Southeast. It acquired three smaller local propane companies in 2012 and is still looking to expand.

ThompsonGas summary

Comment

Recommendation

Region

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Check that there is a ThompsonGas location close to your home.

Services

Propane, tank installation, system maintenance, appliances.

Include all your propane needs when requesting for a detailed quote from the company (tank, appliances, etc.).

Safety record

Excellent. 24/7/365 emergency line.

Ask about the company’s safety history and record in your area.

Business reputation

Excellent.

Call your local ThompsonGas customer care number to find out how responsive they are.

Propane price

Thompson Gas services spread out over regions that are above the national propane price average.

Check local propane price trends and find out to what extent the price you are given per gallon reflects market price.

Delivery options

Will call and automatic delivery.

Decide if you want to control when propane is delivered or prefer peace of mind through automatic delivery.

Propane price options

Fixed pricing, market pricing and budget planning.

Decide if you want to pay for propane in one or several installments, if you want to plan deliveries according to market trends or whether you prefer to have a fixed price per gallon throughout the year.

Other options

System inspection, gas line maintenance, payment protection (if account holder dies).

It is better to have your propane system once a year and it is simpler to request your propane company to maintain your system.

Fees and charges

Safety, transportation costs compensation, late payment / bounced check, excess propane removal, after-hours delivery, maintenance on customer-owned equipment.

Know what charges you may incur (e.g., out of hours delivery) and, if you own a tank, choose whether you want your propane company to maintain it for you (recommended unless you have already identified a propane technician).

ThompsonGas safety

ThompsonGas presents safety as a priority. In this, it is no different from other propane companies. However, it has a 24/7 emergency safety number (800-768-6612) so its customers can call should they have doubts about a safety-related propane issue and are informed of the procedures to follow if you suspect a gas leak. The company participates in the Propane Education and Research Council and in the national and state propane gas associations.

ThompsonGas business reputation

ThompsonGas is accredited with the Better Business Bureau, which is illustrative of a good capacity to answer customer complaints constructively. Although its offices are open from 8AM to 5PM, it has a 24h customer care line and generally, customer feedback is positive on company activities – from propane prices to equipment. It remains advisable to call your local customer care number to find out how courteous and responsive they are since these are the people you will mostly be dealing with should you become a ThompsonGas customer.

ThompsonGas prices

The company claims to beat offers from legitimate competition 14 out of 15 times so it is in your interest to put them to the test by requesting several quotes and seeing what ThompsonGas has to offer in comparison. It is true that although the company serves an area that is not the cheapest in terms of propane prices averages, online reports suggest that customers are generally satisfied with the prices offered.

With the TemperatureProof plan ThompsonGas offers fixed propane prices for a year for an annual fee of $45. This is a useful option if you do not want to be vulnerable to market price hikes, especially in the winter period when propane prices rise significantly.

Should you wish to benefit from this plan, it is advisable to enter into it during the summer months, when propane prices are lowest, since the company will buy the amount of propane matching your usage at lower prices and will be able to guarantee you a lower fixed price. ThompsonGas enables TemperatureProof customers to spread their payments out over 12 months.

The company also gives up to $250 in credits to customers who refer new clients to ThompsonGas. This is based on a $25 per new client system with a maximum of 10 referrals per year. Given average propane prices, unless you are able to refer various friends or contacts to the company this offer is of limited interest. Still, it would be a pity to discard this offer if you are planning to refer people anyway.

ThompsonGas tanks

ThompsonGas does not offer to sell propane tanks to customers but has a wide range of propane tanks that customers can rent. The tank rental fee varies according to tank size and is determined at the discretion of the company. It is useful to know that tank rental fees typically range from $25 to $250 per year depending mainly on size.

With this in mind, it is important to realize that propane prices are generally lower for customers who own their propane tank, even if it is a significant investment to begin with given that propane tanks range from $450 to $3,500 depending on size and whether it is aboveground or underground.

Propane tank size also affects propane prices: the larger your usage and your order, the likelier you are to be offered a lower propane price. This is truer when you own a propane tank since with rented tanks, since you are only allowed to order propane from one company, your usage is worked out.

However, with customers who wish to buy a tank and will be able to switch from one company to another depending on pricing and services, having a larger tank might enable you to better plan propane deliveries, taking advantage of lower prices.

ThompsonGas delivery options

With ThompsonGas, customers are encouraged to select automatic delivery. This service rests on the company estimating your usage on the basis of historical consumption and weather patterns and plans deliveries when it works out your tank level is likely to drop between 20% and 30%.

If you are on a fixed pricing offer, this is an interesting option to have since your mind is at rest of both the propane price and the possibility of running out of propane. However, if you pay for propane at market prices this means the propane price of the delivery day applies automatically and it is difficult to know what that price will be. Therefore, it is recommended that you regularly check your gauge and call the ThompsonGas local office to follow their daily market price trends and ensure you are being billed reasonably.

ThompsonGas customers can also choose to order their own propane and monitor their own propane tank levels. With this system, when your tank level approaches the 20% mark it is recommended that you place a delivery request. This allows you to plan propane deliveries and might enable you to take advantage of cheaper prices if you order at the right time (especially if your tank is slightly larger than strictly necessary).

However, if you forget to regularly check your tank level, you run the risk of running out of propane. This entails having a leak test and, if you order propane after-hours, paying a special/emergency delivery fee.

Whether you own or lease a propane tank, the ThompsonGas Plan allows customers who use propane as a primary source of energy in their home and who stay with the company for three years or more to receive $150 credit on their account. Should you wish to stay for a shorter period of time, a one-year commitment warrants a $50 credit.

ThompsonGas payment options

Nothing stops ThompsonGas customers from paying their propane bill (online) in one installment. However, given that on average, Americans spend $973 a year on propane, you might want to spread payments out over several months. The company’s budget plan (free) allows customers to make 12 payments to spread out their propane-related expenses.

However, you should note that unless you are on a fixed pricing plan your monthly bills will fluctuate as they are adjusted to the propane price per gallon you end up paying for each delivery. Therefore, it is recommended to check propane prices regularly with your local customer care office.

ThompsonGas services

For $44.95 per year or $4.50 per month, the ThompsonGas inspection plan increases the peace of mind of customers who own their propane tank by organizing regular equipment inspections in accordance to national and state laws and regulations. This is included for customers who rent their tank from the company.

At an hourly local rate, ThompsonGas offers customers appliance repair services on fireplaces, furnaces, gas logs, pool heaters, water heaters, gas dryers, generators, grills, boilers, outdoor heaters, and gas post lanterns.

Should you not want to worry about calling in each repair, ThompsonGas offers a range of maintenance plans for which you might want a quote. For example, the company’s gas furnace maintenance plan includes cleaning controls and burners, adjusting combustion, lubricating, testing for leaks and shutoff response, checking if equipment is worn, aligned and at the right tension, and checking that the equipment runs properly in general.

The company also sells a large range of appliances, from water heaters to furnaces or air conditioners, individually or within a package from Thompson Services. ThompsonGas offers warrantees and financing with these services.

ThompsonGas’ Never Run Out plan guarantees customers who are on a monthly budget automatic delivery 150 gallons of free propane should they run out of propane for a nominal fee ($5.99 if propane is not your primary source of energy) and provided you enroll in a remote monitoring program (where the company installs a meter on your tank and schedules deliveries according to the propane used).

With propane being more efficient than heating oil or electricity as a source of energy, ThompsonGas offers advice on how to convert electric or heating oil heating appliances to propane for energy and cost savings. The incentives the company offers are twofold:

  • First ThompsonGas offers to check what state and federal tax incentives might apply to your situation.
  • Second, the company offers financial incentives to convert electric/oil hot water heaters ($300 credit), heating systems/fired boiler/furnace ($200 credit); it offers a further $300 credit to remove an oil tank in a conversion and respectively $250 and $400 rebates when replacing an electric water heater and an oil or electric furnace with their propane equivalents.

ThompsonGas fees and charges

Item

Description

Maximum amount

Equipment Installation Fee

Installing company equipment

To be negotiated with the company

Haz-Mat Fee

Safety training and compliance

$9.98 per delivery

Fuel Recovery Fee

Petrol price hikes

$7.44 per delivery

Late Charge

Late bill payment

1.5% of bill amount or $35

Service Work Charge

Maintenance

$75/hour/man

Gas Check Fee

System inspection

$79.95

Minimum Use Fee

Using less than 1.5 times propane than tank capacity

$145

Cancellation Fee

Early agreement cancellation

$95

Tank Removal Fee

Removing propane tank

Hourly labor rate

Tank Pump-Out Fee

Removing excess propane

Hourly labor rate

Tank rent fee

Leasing a propane tank from the company

To be negotiated with the company

Off-Route/Special Delivery Charge

Requesting an unplanned delivery

$50

Emergency Delivery Fee

Requesting an after-hours delivery

$125

Meter Residential Customer Charge

Using the company meter to measure propane usage

$10.45 (minimum per month)

Hourly labor rate

Qualified service technician intervention

$75/hour/man

Various fees and charges will apply to your propane supply agreement should you become a ThompsonGas customer and it is important to know what they might be as you compare quotes between different propane companies.

The Equipment Installation Fee is agreed between the customer and ThompsonGas and includes fees related to labor, material and maintenance costs with regards to taxes that might apply, permits that are needed and relevant fees for your propane system and agreement with the company.

The Haz-Mat fee ($9.98 per delivery) offsets staff safety training and consumer information costs associated to compliance with federal and state regulations relative to handling hazardous materials, which is the category propane falls under.

The Fuel Recovery Fee (based on the price of petrol but the current fee is $7.44 per delivery and service call) offsets petrol price fluctuations the company incurs given how important transportation costs are for propane deliveries.

A Late Charge of 1.5% of your daily balance or $35 (highest of the two) applies if you pay your bill late to offset costs the company incurs to ensure you pay your propane bill.

Service Work Charges are billed at an hourly maximum $75/hour/man should a ThompsonGas customer need work on their equipment of modifies it in such a way that an adjustment is needed to comply with federal and state regulations.

ThompsonGas charges at most $79.95 (unless otherwise agreed with the customer) for a Gas Check, which is when the company inspects your propane system and all related fittings (but not appliances).

You may be charged a tank rent fee (price varies depending on tank size and location) if you lease your propane tank from ThompsonGas. It is in your interest to attempt to have this waived if you have a large propane usage estimate (over 1,000 gallons per year).

A Minimum Use Fee of maximum $145 per tank (unless your tank carries more than 1,000 gallons) is charged to customers using a ThompsonGas tank and do not use as much propane as agreed on initially (usually 1.5 times your tank capacity). This is because the propane price factors in usage and decreases as consumption increases.

Should you cancel your propane supply agreement with ThompsonGas before the agreed date or change supplies without giving the company an opportunity to match the competitor’s price, you will incur a $95 maximum Cancellation Fee per tank (or $300 if the tank is underground). Of course, this only applies if you rent the tank from ThompsonGas.

Ending your propane supply agreement with ThompsonGas implies paying a Tank Removal Fee if you rent a company propane tank (hourly maximum rate of $75/hour/man) and a Tank Pump Out Fee if your tank level is above 5% (maximum level at which it can be moved legally; the same hourly rate applies).

Customers who need propane delivered off-route during business hours will be charged an Off-Route Delivery Charge or Special Delivery Charge (at most $50 per delivery) and an Emergency Delivery Fee if propane is requested after business hours ($125 maximum fee).

ThompsonGas customers who use a company meter to measure propane usage will be charged a Metered Residential Customer Charge of at least $10.45 per month.

All other maintenance related ThompsonGas interventions are charged at an hourly rate of maximum $75/hour/man – this applies to all propane-related services the company offers and that require experts to come to your home.

ThompsonGas community involvement

The Fuel for Hope is ThompsonGas’ partnership with the American Breast Cancer Foundation to raise awareness for the cause by painting propane delivery trucks pink. Similarly, the company has painted propane delivery trucks USO colors to show support for US troops and their families.

The ThompsonGas Foundation awards $1,000 to $15,000 grants to environment, education, culture/arts, civic/community development and health/human services organizations and programs that operate in ThompsonGas communities.

The company’s educational funds provides up to $5,000 to schools in support of math and science programs in the states where ThompsonGas operates. It also encourages staff to volunteer with company support in local community projects.