Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Walker subdivision feeling the cold

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WALKER - Imagine waking up and having no heat. It's happening in the Woodland Crossing Subdivision in Walker and dozens of households are being affected.

Residents say it's happening in the middle of the night. Walker Gas & Water tell 2 On Your Side it's known about the issue for years, but an obstacle is preventing them from fixing the problem.

"You're waking up in the morning, trying to start your day and you're freezing," said Woodland Crossing resident Kelly Schayot.

It's been a rough week for Schayot and her family. She says ever time the temperature takes a deep dive, there's no natural gas. It cuts off sometime in the middle of the night and doesn't come on until late morning. It's been going on for years.

"It's always the same story," she said.

It's affecting her neighbors, too. Schayot says there's a post on the Nextdoor App with nearly 80 comments from people chiming in about the issue. One says, "I live on Palmwood Court and I don't have gas, either."

The thermostat in Schayot's house is set to 69 degrees. She says she woke up this morning and it was 62 degrees in the house. She got up at 5 a.m. to put a heating blanket on her young daughter.

"I planned for it last night," she said. "Now every single time there's a hard freeze I have to plan that we will have no heat until noon the next day."

Walker Gas & Water tells 2 On Your Side the supply pipe to handle the capacity that's requested to the Woodland Crossing Subdivision is too small. The city has a permit to fix the issue and install a larger pipe, but there's a holdup.

Walker is working on servitude access. It says one property owner has not accepted a fair market offer from the city to move forward. The land has been reappraised and the property owner has been sitting on his second offer since June 2016.

"We made the best offer we could and we're still trying to work with him to get that resolved," said Superintendent Jamie Etheridge.

Until then, Etheridge says there's a temporary fix. The City of Walker signed a contract Thursday with a portable gas company. The contract will allow tank trucks to place in the subdivision and supply households with natural gas. The contract takes 48 hours to become activated.

Meanwhile, Schayot is preparing for another cold night in her house. The lowest temperature the thermostat read this week was 58 degrees. She's looking for a permanent fix.

"You pay for a service and then when you need it the most it doesn't work," she said.



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