A propane shortage is affecting millions across the Midwest including WabashValley residents trying to heat their homes and businesses.
Timing couldn’t be worse as frigid temperatures cause concern.
News 10 spoke with a local supplier of the fuel to learn more about what the industry is calling a crisis.
“We were plentiful and now we’re squeaking by and bringing it in as we need it,” says Joe Milner, Energy Manager, at Ceres Solutions in Terre Haute.
A warning from propane suppliers to be conservative as a shortage hits the Valley.
“Right now we’re ok but we are asking people to be conservative in their use. Use a little supplemental heat where they can, check the gage on their tank. We are going to have to wait until they are at 20% instead of 50% until we put some in,” says Milner.
The extreme cold and a wet season for grain during the summer month’s means customers are using more fuel, but that’s not the only cause of the problem.
“Folks may not realize the exports have really grown in the last two years in propane. Now there are export facilities in the Gulf. It’s really become a worldwide commodity. It’s going other places if those folks will pay more for the commodity,” says Milner.
Speaking of paying more prices of the fuel are skyrocketing up to $5.00 a gallon.
“I think that will continue, and I don’t know where it will end up, but obviously there is an increase in the cost of our freight,” says Milner.
Providers are going the extra mile to meet the growing demand.
“Normally they would be within 60 miles one way and we’ve done some 800 one way miles, so it takes a lot of time,” says Milner.
Their goal of making sure residents have heat remains the same.
“We’re not filling everybody up. We are trying to keep most customers in some product. The idea is to keep everybody with some heat to use,” says Milner.
He does not know how long the shortage will last, but does expect prices will continue to rise.
Again Milner wants to remind residents to conserve what propane they do have.