Residents along Maria River Road are confused and frustrated after arranging for gas to be delivered to their homes, only to find out the company has deemed the road unsafe.
Goolawah Co-operative resident Julia Jungehuelsing said she has been with Kempsey-based Supagas for more than two years and previously had no issues with the company delivering LPG products to her house.
"Normally, we get the confirmation to say that they will be coming on their next available date, but this time we got a message to say that they won't be delivering here anymore," she said.
When residents attempted to place their orders, they received a message saying it was "required to be a 'pick up' only service from Kempsey, SUPAGAS".
"There has been much improved safety measures implemented over recent times upon our vehicles and as a result we regrettably inform you that your service has been impacted by these improved safety measures," the statement read.
"All affected customers are welcome to pick up their gas from the SUPAGAS depot."
The message was sent to residents despite the company's "Yes we can!" motto and their website still claiming Supagas "will ensure you get your LPG gas products no matter where you are located".
The Macleay Argus has contacted Supagas for comment but has not received a response.
Goolawah Co-operative resident Peter O'Hara said the company's new safety measures are "ironic".
"The response from Supagas has been that they are worried about the safety of their drivers, but then they say they want us to pick the bottles up ourselves," he said.
Supagas has provided instructions on how to properly strap the gas bottles, saying "the cylinder must be strapped (rope not permitted) and the cylinder transported in an upright position, opened air vehicle, ute or trailer...".
Mr O'Hara said residents still wouldn't be confident handling the 45kg gas bottles by themselves.
"The weight of the bottles is one problem for us... especially for older people who live here," he said.
"Usually, when they deliver it here they check to make sure it is set up right too, so you have confidence that it is all done correctly.
"Now that they don't deliver here, it is expected that we will set it up and if you don't connect the bottles right, something could very easily go wrong and you can have a gas leak."
Mr O'Hara said the company's decision to move to a pick-up only service has forced them to turn to Origin Energy as their supplier.
"They have made that decision and stuck with it, so our commercial decision is to all walk away and go somewhere else - but options are limited," he said.
While fellow resident Bronwyn Little acknowledges that Maria River Road is "worse than atrocious" after a wet weather event, she said she is still confused as to why the company has suddenly stopped delivering the gas bottles.
"They say it's unsafe, but they don't give us any particulars about what is actually unsafe," she said.
"The roads before they are graded are worse than atrocious but it will be fixed next year, and in the meantime we still need to have gas bottles delivered here.
"There are so many who are affected; it's people all along Maria River Road... we don't have a choice for gas, we can't use power because you would just drain your battery, and Origin is now the last one that delivers here.
"Hopefully, by the time that they might decide to not deliver here, the roads will be sealed and we won't have this problem anymore, but in the meantime we are stuck."
While those who have turned to Origin Energy have so far had no issues in ordering an LPG delivery, they are not confident that they won't receive a similar message from the company in the future.
An Origin Energy spokesperson has told the Macleay Argus that the decision to not deliver to certain premises is ultimately up to the driver.
"The safety of our people and customers, including the communities where we operate is of paramount importance to Origin", the spokesperson said.
"Road conditions will only tend to have an impact on LPG deliveries to our customers when a road is deemed impassable or poses a risk to the safety of our drivers."
While some residents are feeling the sting of Supagas' decision, Maria River Distillery's Brandon Santi, who uses them as a supplier, said he's been down this road before with other companies.
"It's not the first company that has said that, so it doesn't surprise me," he said.
"We have our own experience with couriers that won't deliver here... and there's quite a lot of different things that I can't get delivered here where I will then have to go and collect myself."
Although Mr Santi hasn't been contacted by Supagas with the new delivery changes, he said that it will have an impact on the business if he does receive the message during their next order.
"I haven't been contacted by Supagas, but at the same time I haven't ordered anything recently," he said.
"If they're not delivering here now then that will affect us, but we've probably got about another six months of gas supply on hand, so we don't have to worry about that now.
"In a few months time it might be a different story."
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