UPDATE: Gov. Walker to Hold Meeting to Discuss Propane Shortage

By: WSAW Staff/ Associated Press Email
By: WSAW Staff/ Associated Press Email

UPDATE: Thurs 2:02 PM, Jan. 23, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he will be gathering stakeholders on Monday to discuss a shortage of propane heating fuel in Wisconsin.

Walker said Thursday there is no quick fix to the shortage hitting many regions nationwide and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.

Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz on Wednesday asked Walker to use some of the state's surplus revenue to address the problem, but Walker says more money will not have an impact.

Winter storms and bitter cold are contributing to the problem.

According to the Energy Department 5.5 million U.S. households heat with propane, mostly in the Midwest and South.

UPDATE: Mon 4:01 PM, Dec. 23, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Several upper Midwestern states are dealing with higher propane prices because of supply problems in recent weeks.

Farmers used more propane than usual to dry the late harvest of grain that came out of the fields too wet. Rural households not served by natural gas lines dipped into propane supplies early due to colder than normal temperatures. And the Cochin pipeline that carries propane to the Midwest from Canada closed for several weeks, stalling supply to the region.

The supply problem has driven prices 14 percent higher since mid-November in Iowa, where customers pay $1.88 a gallon. That's 34 percent higher than last year. Propane's up 15 percent in Illinois in the last month, 13 percent in Wisconsin and Minnesota and 12 percent in Nebraska.

ORIGINAL STORY: Fri 6:47 PM, Dec. 20, 2013

The cold weather has propane in high demand all across the midwest and suppliers are having a difficult time keeping up. It's becoming an issue for homeowners and businesses that use this fuel for heating.

Back in October, Governor Scott Walker issued an executive order allowing propane drivers to drive more than the 70 hours per week they're capped at by state and federal laws to make sure propane constantly gets delivered, distributors are still having a difficult time filling each tank, prompting some to begin rationing, only filling tanks half way.

"Weather is an issue and the harvest. The extend harvest time was an issue in many parts of the state, which many farms in agriculture use propane in their corn drying. And so all that kind of comes together at a time when everybody, from the consumer side, whether it's a residential to those supplying propane need it kind of all at the same time,” Explains Brandon Scholtz the Managing Director from Wisconsin Propane Gas Association.

He says if your tank is low let your provider know by calling to make sure you get on their list early enough to avoid running out of propane completely.

Propane customers in central Wisconsin say they have been limited gallon-wise to the amount they ordered. They also say the price has gone up significantly in the last six month.

National reports say the propane shortage should be alleviated by mid-January.

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