Gov. Scott Walker says utilities will make propane available to help low-income people in Wisconsin dealing with the propane shortage.
Walker announced the agreement Thursday with Madison Gas and Electric and We Energies.
The agreement will give the state access to more than 117,000 gallons of propane stored at those utilities.
Under the agreement, the state can access up to 42,000 gallons of propane stored at We Energies' Oak Creek facility, with the possibility of an additional 30,000 gallons from We Energies' Tomah facility. Madison Gas and Electric is providing up to 45,000 gallons of propane.
Any propane the state requests will be deployed to help meet the needs of residents qualifying for low-income assistance. The state will replace the propane reserves when the heating season is over.
The Wisconsin Legislature's finance committee has signed off on a Republican bill that could create a new loan program to help people struggling with high propane prices.
Under the bill, the state would guarantee up to $2,500 in loans to purchase propane or other heating supplies and pay down interest on the loans. The borrower's household income couldn't exceed 200 percent of their county median household income.
The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill unanimously Wednesday, clearing the way for a vote in the full Assembly.
Gov. Scott Walker last month declared a state of emergency due to the propane shortage and established a $3 million loan guarantee program for propane dealers.
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