- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire officials want a home heating oil company to reimburse the state nearly $21,000 for running an emergency hotline for customers who experienced delivery problems.

More than 1,850 customers called the hotline between Jan. 7 and Jan. 12 regarding Fred Fuller Oil Co. In approving the hotline, Gov. Maggie Hassan said the state has a responsibility to act to protect the health and safety of its residents.

The company said a combination of extreme weather conditions, a huge increase in oil and propane demand and an overload and temporary crash of the company phone system led to the problems. The state said it had to step in after receive complaints from residents.

“We all recognize that this was a difficult time for your and your business, and I appreciate that you recognized the tremendous assistance our dedicated employees provided,” Perry Plummer, head of the state’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, wrote Thursday to Fred Fuller, company president. “Although there may not be a legal obligation to reimburse the state of New Hampshire for the expense of the call center, we believe it would be appropriate for you to do so.”

Marc Goldberg, a spokesman for Hassan, said it is appropriate for the state to seek repayment from the company for the cost, most of which was overtime for state employees.

The company’s lawyer, Simon Leeming, said the company is “in continuous discussions” with the state and is reviewing the request for reimbursement.

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