Seventy years ago, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet made its television debut on ABC, John Steinbeck’s East of Eden was published, Eddie Fisher’s “I’m Yours” was released — and Hocon Gas was born.
It wasn’t called Hocon at the time. Mike Gable had escaped the Nazis, joined the war effort and rose to become the personal driver for an army general. When the war ended, he moved to New York and soon found his bride. As luck would have it, her father owned a propane delivery company. He got a job as a propane delivery driver.
Eventually, Mike decided to venture into his own business. With the backing of his father-in-law, Mike bought the Connecticut Gas Co., a small propane company with 250 customers, in Darien, CT. A few years later, after merging with Home Oil Company, it was renamed Hocon.
Back then, propane was delivered exclusively in 100-pound cylinders and principally used for cooking and hot water. Mike saw the potential to expand the uses of propane for homes and businesses, and his entrepreneurial venture grew.
David Gable, Hocon’s current CEO, didn’t think much of his father’s line of work.
“I had started a construction business in New Orleans after attending Tulane University,” he said. When a national propane show happened to take place there, Mike lobbied hard for David to check out the show with him. When he did, he was surprised by the national scope. It was a much bigger industry and had much greater potential than he had imagined. David ended up joining the business in 1982.
“I really started working on the ground floor,” David said. “I drove a truck, did installations, sales, among other jobs.” There were only around 3,500 customers at the time.
“I remember the feeling around the company was that I was a college kid, the boss’s son, the whole bit. I think most of the employees thought I’d move on to something else. But I liked the people, liked the customers, liked the business, and I saw some real opportunity to modernize and grow,” he said.
In the early 90s, Mike effectively stepped away from the business, and David fully took over the reins. Over the next decade, Hocon took off.
“I saw the boom in Connecticut real estate, with lots of new homes being built. I truly believed that propane would be the best option, and we needed to be the company that builders and homeowners could rely on.”
The company expanded beyond its Norwalk base. We bought a small company in Waterbury and added significant storage. It was also unusual to have a service department that could fix things for customers. We created one. We started adding more locations throughout the state (there are now eight) and diversifying into industrial gases, propane Autogas, hearth products, pool and water heaters and heating oil. Today, Hocon has more than 30,000 customers.
We asked David what about Hocon makes him most proud. He said, “We’ve always tried to set a high bar — in safety, service, innovation, technology, training, and products. But I think it’s our people who make me the most proud. Our team goes through so much to take care of our customers. No matter what the weather, our people show up and put the customer first. My dad would have liked that.”
Richie O’Neil, general manager of our Waterbury location, has helped countless Hocon customers. It’s hard to imagine this place without him.
Richie joined us on July 11, 1988. He had worked for another propane company before taking a job as a serviceman at Hocon. He distinguished himself as a dedicated, engaging employee and moved up to service manager in Waterbury.
From there, he took on the role of general manager. Richie has a great rapport with customers and loves helping them.
“My favorite part of this job,” he said, “is helping customers solve some issues and also educating them on all the ways propane can benefit them.”
Richie’s hard work and leadership have made a big difference over the years. “When I started, there were two offices and about 30 employees,” he recalled. “We’ve grown to six offices and 200 employees, and it’s still family-owned!”
Richie has been here in good times and challenging ones. We’re honored he’s on our team!
Earlier this year, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves through world energy
markets. In its aftermath, all energy prices have soared. Fortunately, propane prices
have increased the least.
We know this is hard for you; it’s hard for us too. When prices spike, people tend to
think we make more money. The opposite is true. Customers cut back on fuel use.
They have trouble paying their bills. Meanwhile, we must pay our suppliers within
a few days at much higher levels. It’s an awful mess for everyone.
The next year could be very challenging for all of us, but we have managed this business through tough stretches before. We have an exceptional team, excellent relationships with suppliers and a phenomenal customer base.
We will get through this together. While we can’t control world energy prices, we have some ways to make things a little easier for you, like setting you up on our monthly payment plan, which spreads your fuel costs over 12 manageable monthly payments. This reduces your winter heating payments by half.
Trust us to look after your interests and to be there whenever you need us.
For our 70th anniversary year, we are giving gifts to some lucky customers!
Some of the winners have chosen to share their positive Hocon customer experiences. We can’t thank them enough. Through July, we are running a Longest-Term Customer Contest where seven customers can win fuel at 70¢ a gallon.
Enter on our Website by July 31.
When you purchase a pool heater from Hocon Gas, your water will be the perfect temperature all season.
And for a limited time, when you purchase a new Pool Heater*, you save $200 on the installation.
We install more pool and spa heaters than anyone else in the region. In no time, you can start enjoying relaxing swims in the evening and into the fall.
Don’t delay — like many products, pool heaters are in short supply. Contact us or call 203-402-7898.
*Must be purchased through Hocon Gas.
Propane is already one of the most energy-efficient and clean-burning fuels around, and it’s only getting cleaner and greener.
Renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, but it’s not a fossil fuel. It’s made using organic materials like animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass and plant matter. This feedstock is abundant and inexpensive, and the resulting product has one half to one quarter of the carbon intensity of conventional propane. In fact, renewable propane is carbon neutral at the point of combustion, adding no new carbon to the atmosphere.
Renewable propane is a reliable, eco-friendly fuel that is poised to rapidly increase in supply over the next decade. It requires little to no modification of existing systems, making it a cheaper alternative to electrification efforts.
Read more about the benefits of propane here.
“The technicians are wonderful as well as the delivery drivers. I would never change to anyone else. They are the BEST.”
Pat C., of New Preston
Our hearts were warmed by Pat’s comments on our “Show the Love!” contest. When her entry was picked at random, she won 150 gallons of propane at just 70 cents per gallon!
Pat’s been a loyal propane customer for 30 years. She has done several equipment upgrades with Hocon, including a furnace and a stove. “I’d recommend Hocon to anyone, anywhere,” she said.
Pat recalled one time when our team really came through. Her stove needed a replacement part that was no longer made. The Hocon team tracked down an equivalent piece and went to work attaching it.
“That technician worked in my yard over three hours making it fit,” she said. “He didn’t have to do that, but he was a great technician.”
Hocon Gas is honored to provide propane to Sean C.’s North Canaan community music center. Sean recently won a Weber Genesis grill for one of our 70th anniversary contests.
Sean’s nonprofit organization hosts music lessons, after-school music programs, free concerts and fundraising events. This June, they’re presenting a Make Music Day show, and they’re planning a musical performance for July’s fireworks show.
We’ve provided fuel to the center since 2019. Sean says he loves Hocon’s personal touch. He remembers how helpfully we worked with him while he set up an outdoor stage near the building’s gas meters.
“They were so nice,” he said. “It all worked out great because of Hocon’s support.”
Sean said that learning he won a new Weber grill was the best call he ever got from a fuel company. He’s still deciding what his first meal will be. He’s thinking steak and swordfish — a little surf-and-turf!