Cold Concerns: Energy Emergency Due to Propane Shortage

Posted on: 5:58 pm, January 20, 2014, by

SEVILLE, Ohio–Just in time for another brutally cold winter, Ohio has joined other states in which customers who heat their homes with propane are being told that the fuel is in short supply.

Debbie Ponader and her husband say were warned by their supplier when they filled their tank in late December.

“They were telling us to conserve because there is going to be a shortage of propane so, they said this is your tank but should you need another refill and the supplies aren’t there, it might be difficult to fill your tank,” said Ponader.

Heeding the advice, Ponader said she turned the thermostats in her house down from 72 to 68.

But she said news of a propane shortage was surprising to her.

“We have lived here for 12 years and this is the first time we have ever heard that so it was kind of a shock,” said Ponader.

The short supply of propane has prompted Ohio Governor John Kasich to declare an energy emergency.

Kasich is allowing suppliers to disregard current law that restricts the number of hours and consecutive days in which they can deliver propane to try and catch up with the demand.

The governor said the state is also working with county officials to look out for people whose supplies might be getting low.

The emergency declaration involves all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Jim Roddy of Seville just had a propane order filled three days ago and said his supplier did not mention short supply but he has noticed something else: higher prices.

“It just keeps on going up. When I moved in here 13 years ago, I paid 75¢ a gallon and now, $3.16,” said Roddy.

Calls by FOX 8 News to five different Northeast Ohio Propane suppliers were not returned on Monday.

David Field, the executive vice president of the Ohio Propane Gas Association issued a written statement which reads in part: “OPGA applauds Governor John Kasich’s proclamation declaring a state of energy emergency waiving regulations relating to motor carriers and drivers transporting propane and heating oil. Today, the U.S. DOT Midwestern office has also issued a regional order which will allow transporters to move product more freely.”

The regional order, unprecedented in recent Ohio experience, impacts 10 Midwest states, and a similar order is in effect for 14 Eastern states. A total of 30 states so far this winter have issued hours of service relief.

The release explains the supply nationwide is strong, but it currently is not where it is needed.

It blames the shortage on multiple events including late harvests of grain crops that required massive amounts of propane in order to be dried prior to storage and transportation challenges that include longer driving distances and loading times.

“The month of December brought historically cold weather, ice and snow which further inhibited the transportation of propane. Demand for residential, commercial and agricultural heat soared,” Field said, adding, “All these combined to prevent regional inventories from recovering and the existing pipeline and terminal infrastructure has been unable to recover.”

Both Roddy and Ponader, meanwhile, said they are supplementing with space heaters in areas of the home they use the most.

“We are cutting off rooms. We’re cutting off heat registers in rooms we don’t use. I have a small electric heater because I do work from home so in my office I’ve got that turned on with the door closed, so I’m staying toasty in the office,” said Ponader.

“I do have a fireplace there and I have some wood in the back and in case of an emergency we can always stay in the living room with the fireplace but hopefully, I’ve stayed ahead of the propane supply so I don’t have to worry too much about running out.”

12 comments

  • Welcome to America! Land of corporate greed, and I bet the propane companies get their welfare checks.

  • cheryl says:

    Our propane tank is at 3%..I called for a fill today and I was told supplies are low and they rationing the propane and that we can only get 150 gallons not fa full fill.and its $3.20 a gallon. I wS told to zlso conserve to make the propane last….told to lower heat temp…..limit showers.n.n

  • ben korny says:

    There is not a shortage, I live in Oklahoma and work in the energy industry. The problem is wall street greed. They have bought propane and are holding it off the market and this is what we get. High prices for consumer and the fat cats get richer. by the way, I use propane at my resident and last cost was 2.35 gallon.

    • chad says:

      count your blessings…..live in Minnesota were the price at most companies is about 4.50 to as high as 6.60 crazy…as far as corporate greed could not agree more…….how do they sleep at night

  • D. says:

    This is just another way to raise the already inflated price of propane. Propane is a junk gas. They used to let it blow away. Then someone got the idea of “catching” it and selling it. Now, it is a valuable commodity. Amerigas is the worst offender with regards to pricing, overcharging and double charging.
    We went to an outside wood burner because of the over inflated propane costs, 6 yrs. ago.

  • off the grid says:

    I love my Natures’ Comfort outside wood burner!! Heats my home, crawl space, and water. Our house is set at 76 all winter long. I only use 1 100 gal. of propane a year for cooking.

  • Ross says:

    T\Its a way to get prioces up, in my area they produce LP and now prices are going up. I am glad I have Nat Gas.

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  • aig422 says:

    This fall we got a letter from our propane company saying there was a excess. But now that it is winter and people need it there is a shortage. It is price gouging. They need to go to jail.

  • Tara Lipke says:

    I work for a national lp company, and the shortage is variable depending on your company. Not all companies, partivularly smaller ones, secured enough of a supply for the winter. If you do use lp- prebuy in the summer if you can, that way you are getting the cheapest possible price and its gauranteed for the year.

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