This is NUTS! About 7 years ago we built a house and put in a propane furnace and stove (weren't we smart.. elect was expensive and propane was cheap....THEN). Then propane started going up along with everything else and the two income home became a one income home. I totally understand that utilities are in business to make a profit and that they are not in the business of giving away anything - but everyting about this just smells 'fishy'. I was on the plan that had them topping off my tank whenever they were in the area. Got a bill for about $500 a couple of times randomly over the year. Worked out ok cause it took me about 6mos to pay one off (with it's late fees) by the time the other showed up. Anyway - last year - around Thanksgiving - I came home to find a bill for around $1000 <GASP>. The price had just about doubled over the summer/fall. I called them and asked to set up payment arraingments since - with the winter coming on - I'd not be able to pay it off completely before it ran out. I was told that I had 30 days to pay it entirely or they'd turn it over to a collection agency. I was a bit dumbfounded since I had BEEN making payments to them for years... without an official 'plan' ... but I thought that it would be best, since this was so much money, to work something out right off and (maybe) avoid a ton of late fees. I rationed the propane use and managed to make it till March before running out. Sitll owed about $400 (including the $30/mo late fees). It was running in the 30's most nights so I called them and asked if there was any way to have a small load delivered since I could tell that it was almost out because I could smell it. They refused to send any more - but INSISTED that they HAD to have someone come out and check my lines / disconnect my empty tank. It was a "safety issue". Oh, and by the way, that would only cost me $250 - which would cover the re-connecting my house once I paid off the old bill and had another load delivered. Well, I finally got the giant bill paid off, and the disconnect/re-connect (for my own safety), and got a quarter-load of gas delivered. Turns there is a minimum delivery that just happens to work out to about $800... Well... by using the propane ONLY for heat and cooking on electric frying pans, griddles, crock pots, toaster ovens, etc, I've rationed that last load till now. (yeah) I'm down to the dregs and will be paying off the last bit today. I found out from a friend that another local gas company is almost $1 cheaper per gallon. So when I called to get the final amount owed to AG, I asked them to verify that the tank that is burried in my front yard is mine - since I had not been charged any tank rental fees all these years. Nope! I haven't been charged any rental because I keep buying propane. If I choose to not buy propane from them I have 2 choices - pay a $250 rental fee - or dig the tank up and give it back to them. ( ! ) ME DIG IT UP!!!!! These are the folks that were SO concerned for my safety that they HAD to send someone out that very day when I mentioned that I could smell the dregs from my empty tank........ They want me to dig up a metal tank with explosive vapors in it - that's attached to my house by a metal line - move that tank to the side of the road and leave it for them to pick up! So... is it just me or does it sound like I got sucked into a BAD deal..... I can't have anyone else fill the tank. I can't afford to have them fill the tank. I can't not fill the tank. Am I missing an option???? Maybe the cold is seeping into my brain... Just ranting... will most likely keep paying them for overpriced propane and keep hating every momnet of it.