An energy emergency is beginning to hit home for people across the Midwest and now suppliers are urging customers to conserve.
Suppliers say the reasons for the propane shortage include a wet harvest season that caused farmers to use more propane, and a Midwest pipeline down most of December.
The problems with the transportation, availability and distribution of propane has the Missouri Propane Gas Association working to quickly alleviate the problem in the state.
The organization said there is a bottleneck of natural gas reaching Missouri and much of the country and they are working to seek relief from the current problems facing Missourians and their fuel providers.
To allow for expedited delivery of propane, MPGA has sought relief from the federal Hours of Service restrictions which limit the transportation of fuel cargoes.
"Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is aware of the need and has previously authorized relief under an executive emergency order," said Steve Ahrens, MPGA executive director. "Today, the U.S. DOT Midwestern office has also issued a regional order which will allow transporters to move product more freely through a wider area."
Ahrens said some companies are sending trucks as far away as Clay Center, KS, and Hattiesburg, MS, to load up on gas. Some is reaching the state by pipeline, but that is being rationed.
The wholesale price of propane shot up $0.41 a gallon Tuesday to $2.41 a gallon and Ahrens said that's about double what it was in the fall.
The U.S. Department of Energy reported that cold weather led to record-high natural gas storage withdrawals last week, the largest in the 20-year history of the survey and the second time this year the record has been broken.
The regional order 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.
To ensure that suppliers are able to provide service in a timely manner, propane customers are asked to arrange for deliveries when their tanks read 35 percent.
"Give your supplier plenty of time to make a delivery and you can avoid that cost and delay," Ahrens said.
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