HEAT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL - Judge Rules Quickly On Clay Gas Problems

A series of actions and responses over Clay County's gas problems has opened a window for some relief for hundreds of customers who have been suffering without heat during the freeze.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge promptly turned over control of a Clay County natural gas utility today to Charleston-based Mountaineer Gas.

After the state's PSC had moved to place some or all of John Habjan's gas companies in receivership, Habjan immediately took out bankruptcy.

US Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson granted a request by the state Public Service Commission to allow Mountaineer to manage the finances and operations of Valley Gas.

Friday the PSC convinced a Clay County judge to take away control of Valley, Beechy and Wagner gas companies from the Pennsylvania businessman.

Valley Gas simultaneously filed for bankruptcy, meaning Mountaineer couldn't take over the company without permission from Pearson.

Mountaineer operations director Danny Chandler has said Mountaineer doesn't necessarily want Habjan's companies, but agreed to help.

Many Clay residents businesses and schools have been without heat because of leaks, low pressure and other problems.

PSC spokeswoman Sarah Robertson says Valley, Beechy and Wagner customers with gas line problems are being asked to call Mountaineer at 1-800-834-2070.