Multi-Unit Residential Complex

Multi-Unit Residential Complex - Case Study

Apartment complex with 1100 units in 122 buildings served by 55 natural gas accounts.

Local Utility:

Columbia Gas of Ohio & Columbus Southern


A severe ice storm knocks out power for several days. Boilers deenergize and pipes freeze and burst. In this turmoil the property manager was rightfully addressing immediate needs and did not recall the language in his natural gas contract.

Buying Group Description:

Apartment complex with 1100 units in 122 buildings served by 55 natural gas accounts.


  • Upon learning of the major ice storm, Independent Energy Consultants contacted its client and inquired about their electric status, knowing that electricity was needed for their gas-fired boilers to operate.
  • Independent Energy Consultants then went to our contract database and discovered provisions that required our client to pay a penalty and notify the supplier if they expected to use less than 90 percent of their contracted quantity.
  • Independent Energy Consultants was able to verify that 18 of the 55 natural gas accounts were not consuming gas because they were associated with the damaged boilers.
  • Due to prompt action by Independent Energy Consultants, our client was able to avoid paying penalties and the supplier was able to quickly readjust their scheduled gas supplies.
  • We were informed that power had been out for a prolonged period and the apartments were using portable space heaters.
  • Shortly thereafter we were informed by our client that the subzero temperatures had caused many of the boilers' piping to freeze and crack rendering them permanently inoperable.
  • IEC contacted the supplier and informed them of the situation, mentioned the Force Majeure clause of the contract covering "Acts of God" and recommended the supplier reduce the contract quantities by the respective amounts.
  • Finally, IEC assisted the client in analyzing the cost effectiveness of various boiler repair and replacement options. The analysis included capital costs, maintenance costs, and fuel cost forecasts for both electric and natural gas options.
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