In the wake of unusually cold winter temperatures, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states find themselves in a major propane supply shortage.
In a letter to President Obama, Gov. Scott Walker asked the President to lead a supply chain to arrange movement of propane from areas it is in excess, to where it is needed. In a press release regarding the letter, Gov. Walker stated, “We have received great cooperation and assistance from the federal government and the propane industry so we can work together on developing both short- and long-term strategies and the logistics of moving the propane supply through our states. Wisconsin stands ready to partner in this effort.”
Along with abnormally cold weather, in late 2013 a major propane pipeline was under maintenance for a month, and a high demand for propane this fall created a perfect storm of circumstances that has led to the propane shortage. Including the effort to work with the federal government, Walker has also administered a number of Executive Orders that have allowed propane transporters to carry more, for longer, to help alleviate the shortage.
Many private utility companies and cities have also taken their own action to help lessen the shortage. Companies such as Xcel Energy and the City of La Pointe have requested customers and citizens turn down the thermostat to conserve propane until more can be accessed.
The price of propane is also sure to increase further over the coming weeks. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports the average price for a gallon of propane this fall was $1.70. As of Jan. 27, 2014 the average price was up to $4.49 per gallon.
To aide in the relief for those affected by the propane shortage, or are need of help, Wisconsin Emergency Management provides these tips:
1. Contact your propane vendor when your tank reaches 30% full. Because of the limited propane supply, propane vendors are not able to fill tanks completely right now. They also need more advance notice on delivering propane to your home since there is a high demand for the heating fuel. If you wait to call until your tank is below 30%, you may not be able to get propane delivered before your tank runs out.
2. Call the non-emergency number of your local sheriff’s department if you need the location of a local warming shelter or other local resources. As always, call 911 for an emergency.
3. Check on friends, neighbors and loved ones to ensure everyone has a warm place to stay.
4. Call toll-free1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947) for information about where you can purchase propane in your area, or to apply for assistance towards your propane heating bill.
5. If you go to a local warming shelter, turn off the water in your home and drain your pipes to ensure they pipes do not freeze in your absence. If you are hesitant to use a shelter because you are afraid to leave a pet behind, please call your local warming shelter/human services agency as many warming shelters also offer pet shelter when an individual or family utilizes the shelter.
6. Please donate to the Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund (KWWF) to help those impacted by the crisis.
This post was authored by Hamilton intern Rebecca Ballweg.