UPDATE: Lineups at gas stations, some limiting fuel

Melissa Jenkins
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After concerns of low fuel availability at service stations in Carbonear Friday, people in the area, and across Conception and Trinity Bays, have been lining up today after a storm caused provincewide blackouts

Butt's Esso

After concerns of low fuel availability at service stations in Carbonear Friday, people in the area, and across Conception and Trinity Bays, have been lining up today after a storm caused provincewide blackouts.

Many residents attempted to fill their gas tanks and even gas cans for generator use Friday afternoon while rotating blackout had been announcement the previous day, but learned quickly of afuel shortage in Carbonear, with one station completely running out of fuel by 2 p.m. Lineups six to seven cars long were common at the time.

But  today (Jan. 4), that number grew much higher.

At 9 a.m. a transformer fire at the Sunnyside terminal station caused a blackout that reached from Eastern Newfoundland across the island. This sent some residents in a panic to get backup fuel for vehicles and generators all over the region.

Lineups of more than a dozen vehicles were not uncommon in Carbonear and Victoria. In Clarke's Beach and New Harbour, traffic delays continued for hours for general traffic, becauase  locals waited on the single lane roadways for the opportunity to pump gas at each community's single gas station.

The concerns continued about low fuel and not being able to keep up with the demand, and station owners began limiting the amount of gas each vehicle pumped.

According to a customer earlier this evening, a $20 limit was placed on at least one station that only had supreme fuel available, Noel's Service Station at the bottom of Saddle Hill in Carbonear.

It was suggested Friday by Esso service station in Carbonear owner Frank Butt that fuel has been rationed at his location, and there were concerns that enough fuel has not been provided to his (and possibly other) stations.

North Atlantic officials in Newfoundland has stated the issue is not coming from the company's end, and it was unaware of an issue. The Compass is still awaiting response from other distributors.

 

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Early friday afternoon (Jan. 3), reports on social media of a gas shortage in Carbonear led residents of the area to flock to service stations in hopes of filling up before the forecasted blizzard tonight.

One station confirmed they were out of gasoline at 2 p.m. but expected a shipment later in the afternoon.

The Compass contacted local businessman and Carbonear town councillor Frank Butt — who owns the Esso gas bar on Water Street — for some insight into the shortage from his own experience.

He confirmed his station is experiencing low fuel, and the earliest he will see a shipment is Saturday, pending the weather conditions.

By mid-afternoon, a lineup had formed at Esso, resulting in Butt calling his distributor for more fuel.

When asked why he believed there was a shortage, Butt said fuel was being rationed, possibly by a distributor. There are currently several distributors in the province.

“I could order 30,000 litres of fuel, and when it showed up, there might only be 20,000,” he explained, saying it has been happening for the past few weeks.

Butt’s station usually receives one to two shipments every week.

He also said he believes a similar situation happened in early summer 2013, but the problem was rectified quickly, and fuel was again being delivered in full quantities.

A spokesperson for North Atlantic — one of the province’s fuel distributors — told The Compass she was not aware of fuel rationing taking place from her company, and that North Atlantic had plenty of fuel to supply the province.

The Compass has attempted to reach other distributors, and will provide an update when more information is available.

Organizations: The Compass, Sunnyside terminal, Esso

Geographic location: Carbonear, Eastern Newfoundland, Victoria New Harbour Noel Saddle Hill North Atlantic Water Street

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