Although no local propane providers want to talk about the issue, Kosciusko County residents are saying there is a propane shortage and those who rely on the fuel to heat their homes are worried.
“We were just informed our price is going up to over $6 a gallon,” said Steve Baker of Pierceton. “This is an emergency announcement to all my friends that use propane gas to heat your house, barn, garage and businesses: find ways to conserve fuel.”
StaceyPageOnline.com contacted several local propane providers, but none would offer comment on the issue, which is a worsening shortage of propane. A woman who answered the phone at Stump’s LP in Pierceton said no one would comment because they didn’t have any information.
As another cold snap covers the Midwest, the demand continues to drain supplies that are already at historic lows, according to Reuters.
Supply and demand is obviously causing the prices to soar, but even those who can afford to pay the extra costs temporarily are being told they may not get deliveries. Launda Ewell, also of Pierceton, said, “As our tank emptied to 10 percent, I tried calling and calling, and when we could not get through we stopped (at the local provider) last night, then find out about the shortage. And to be told we might, or might not be getting any propane, and we are paid ahead … we are down to 5 percent today and it looks like we will run out. We are lucky, we have a wood stove, but sure worried about our rural neighbors.”
The U.S. Department of Energy blamed the propane shortage on record cold weather and a late, wet corn supply that required large quantities of propane usage to dry out the crops.
According to the National Propane Gas Association, efforts are underway with the U.S. Department of Energy to acknowledge that emergency conditions could be forming, as consumers and businesses in dozens of states – including Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio – are faced with higher electricity and gas costs due to the persistent cold temperatures.
Reuters is reporting, “Propane stocks have been drained and prices in the region are the highest since at least 1990.”
The National Propane Gas Association reports it is “working at all levels to seek relief from the current supply, distribution and infrastructure problems facing American propane customers.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a regional order for the Midwestern, Eastern and Southern regions which will allow transporters to move propane more freely and quicker throughout the most affected regions. The rare regional order means “hours of service” rules that limit the hours truck drivers can spend driving, are suspended.
Some 14 million households use the liquefied gas to heat homes, especially in upper Midwestern states such as Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, where the shortages have had the most impact.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says a gallon of residential propane in the Midwest cost $2.396 last week. It was $1.738 a year earlier.