As a commercial or home propane customer, you may have felt the unfortunate effects caused by severe weather and transportation issues within the propane services industry. We’ve received several questions and concerns from customers, and we want to make sure you understand what’s really going on. To help you understand the challenges our propane service providers are currently facing and how it may affect you, please read on.
Is there a propane shortage?
No. The supply of propane is not the problem. The issue at hand is the result of a series of concurrent, unfortunate events:
- A record, late and wet grain harvest required excessive propane for crop drying. This was followed immediately by massive winter storms. These events have caused a high demand for residential, commercial and agricultural heat.
- Propane producers were not properly prepared for this type of winter, causing regional supply imbalances. This combined with a strained transportation and infrastructure system. This made timely deliveries to propane marketers, like ThompsonGas, challenging, to say the least.
- The pipeline and rail delivery infrastructure is struggling to meet the demands created by the record grain harvest and severe winter weather conditions.
How is this affecting propane customers?
Business and homeowners who rely on propane gas service may have noticed a spike in propane prices or varied disruptions in propane delivery. In some cases, propane marketers have put caps on the maximum number of gallons customers are allowed to receive. In more extreme situations, propane companies are not taking new customers or refusing to provide propane to customers who haven’t been “loyal” (own their own propane tank but shop around for the best price on propane when it needs refilled).
What is being done to remedy the problem?
First and foremost, ThompsonGas wants to stress that this is only a temporary issue. Propane customers will see improvements in the near future. Propane producers have learned their lesson, and actions are being taken to prevent this from happening in future winters.
To allow greater and quicker deliveries to homes and businesses, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a regional order for affected regions allowing propane delivery transporters to move propane more freely. Twenty-four states have suspended “hours of service” rules that limit the hours propane delivery truck drivers can spend on the road in order to deliver more propane to customers.
The propane industry is working around the clock to move propane from where it is using trains, trucks, and pipelines to where it is needed. The National Propane Gas Association continues to work with officials and propane producers within the pipeline, rail and truck transport community to ask that propane shipments are prioritized at this time.
What is ThompsonGas doing to help?
Despite this national issue, ThompsonGas has kept our propane supply steady. We are currently working with customers to deliver home and commercial propane as quickly as possible. While we can’t control surging propane prices, ThompsonGas does have an appropriate supply of propane available, thanks in part to the operation of our propane rail terminal in Baltimore (pictured above). We are working diligently with customers to ensure they receive the propane they need to keep their homes and businesses running and warm.
What can I do to help?
Propane customers are being urged to cut down on propane usage or use their propane wisely since supplies are limited in certain areas. ThompsonGas sincerely thanks each of you for your continued patience and support. If you have any questions or concerns about your propane delivery, propane home heating, bill or service, please contact us immediately at 800-768-6612.