The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

February 5, 2014

Propane problems consulted by state

(Continued)

Even with temperatures breaking out of the single digits for a few days there is still a lot of demand for the fuel that is used by about 10 percent of all Indiana households. “There’s still a lot of people burning a lot of propane,” said Myers.

Indiana is not alone in facing the propane shortage. Governor Pence has joined fellow governors from the Midwest Governors Association in sending a letter to President Obama asking for immediate assistance to address the propane supply shortage.

“Hoosiers continue to face severe propane shortages and unprecedented winter weather, with no relief in sight,” said Pence. “In recent weeks, the State of Indiana has acted decisively to alleviate the impact of this crisis on the people of this state and now encourages the federal government to take every possible action to relieve the supply shortages and ensure families, farmers and business owners can heat their homes, barns and businesses.”

The governors call for the entire Administration, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and any other relevant agencies to take any possible steps to increase propane supplies through any means of transport.

While state and federal officials were busy calling for changes by consumers and transporters they were quiet about moves that producers could make. Exports on propane in the last five years have increased from 5 to 20 percent of what is produced. “If they would suspend exports, that would help the situation greatly,” said Myers. “I don’t know. Maybe this is something where the federal government needs to step in. I know we have a strategic oil reserve. Maybe we need the same thing for propane.”

Myers contends the propane industry might be a victim of its own success.

“They did what they were supposed to do and that’s go out and sell it,” he said. “They just didn’t plan for this level of consumption and the dealers are the ones taking the hits.”

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