Energy Emergency In Ohio Sparks Propane Concerns

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Propane dealers are responding to questions from their customers about supply and distribution of propane after Gov. John Kasich declared an energy emergency.

"We've had some customers call with concerns," said Clayton Cook, propane division manager at United Landmark.  "The biggest thing right now is not that there is a shortage of propane, but the issue is the fact that some of our key supply points and distribution points in central Ohio are stressed and a little low in product."

Kasich's declaration will allow propane shippers to drive more hours and more consecutive days.  It also asks the federal government to speed up shipments of propane and heating oil coming into Ohio from out of state.

Tens of thousands of Ohioans depend on propane and heating oil to heat their homes during cold weather.

Cook says some distribution is a problem for several reasons.

"We started with a fall where are local farmers demanded a huge amount of propane to dry a very wet corn crop," said Cook.  "We also had record bushels of corn so that has really stressed the propane supply."

Add to that the arctic air this winter - with more cold weather expected soon.

In a statement, the Ohio Propane Association said, "The heavy demand has led to higher prices for all heating fuels. OPGA is aware that the prolonged winter weather is stretching the budgets of all consumers faced with higher electric, natural gas and propane bills."

Experts say propane customers should make sure tanks do not go below 30 percent.

It's also recommended that customers remove ice and snow on the driveway, otherwise drivers may choose to skip the home.

Propane was running $2.86 a gallon last week - that's up 59 cents from a year ago.  The costs could continue to tick up at least until we finally have a break from this winter weather.

Cook says the issue all comes down to distribution.

"Nationwide there's an ample supply of propane," said Cook.  "We may just have to go a little further to get it."