People preparing now to avoid another winter propane crisis

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by David Ade

MADISON –- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) has joined U.S. Senators Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in sponsoring bi-partisan legislation to address the root causes of last winter's propane shortage.

 

The Propane Supply and Security Act is designed to improve the flow of supply and price information, study the need for propane reserves, and help farmers purchase storage tanks.

And while that bill works its way through Congress, there's action being taken at the state level as well.

Experts say last winter's propane crisis took everyone by surprise, and there was no playbook on how to handle it.

 

They say now, people have a better idea what should be done before winter rolls back around.

 

Last winter, propane demand in Wisconsin shot up as temperatures took a nose dive.

 

 “Record levels and usage of propane 12 percent greater than any other year." said Brandon Scholz, Wisconsin Propane Gas Association’s executive director.

 

And that sent prices through the roof, while making it hard for suppliers to make deliveries.

 

“Everybody learned a little bit from last year's crisis. And I think that little bit of learning went a long way toward preparing for the heating season this year." said Scholz.

               

His organization is running a public service announcement running statewide on Wisconsin radio stations. It’s encouraging people to think about their propane plan.

 

"Let’s take care of it now while we can while we got the time." Scholz said.

 

Some state offices are listening to that message.

The Department of Natural Resources says it is putting in orders to make sure state parks go into winter with a full propane supply.

 

Scholz said suppliers are also taking major steps to make sure they have enough propane on hand for customers, but says we don't know exactly how this winter will play out.

 

“The uncontrollable is what's the temperature going to be? Nobody can control that, you can try to predict it as best you can." Scholz said.

 

We also reached out to Governor Scott Walker's office, and a spokesperson says the governor continues to work with propane companies and other governors around the Midwest to try and avoid another propane crisis this winter.

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