Transportation blockage forces some to pay premium for heat - Montgomery Alabama news.

Transportation blockage forces some to pay premium for heat

People who use liquid propane to heat their home will be forced to pay a premium as prices have increased nearly 50 cents per gallon since October.

While there isn't a shortage in propane supply, consumers are feeling the results of a strained transportation and infrastructure system that is "masquerading as a propane shortage," according to Joe Rose, president of the Propane Gas Association of New England.

New England uses 7 percent of our nation's liquid propane supply, but only has a 1 percent storage capacity, Rose said. Furthermore, a pipeline from Texas to Albany, NY has been working under reduced capacity because of shale oil production. This has led to a price increase of 40 cents per gallon since October.

Rose said the price spike will only be temporary.

"Currently the New England region is adequately supplied and the short term outlook for continued supply is positive with waterborne imports scheduled to arrive over the next several weeks," Rose said. "Our goal is to ensure that everyone stays warm and safe."

Earlier this month the Propane Gas Association of New England shared important information to help propane consumers stay safe during frigid temperatures. This week, temperatures will be dropping again, and whenever it gets this cold, everything slows down.

Here are some important steps consumers should take:

  1. Clear snow and ice from around your propane tank, chimneys, flue pipes and vents. Use a broom rather than a shovel, and clear these areas frequently to reduce the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. If pipes freeze and crack, gas can leak out and cause potential danger.
  2. Keep a path clear to your propane tank. This will help propane delivery drivers to get to your tank easily, refill quickly and get to the next home.
  3. Alert snow plow contractors. Make sure the company hired to perform snow removal is advised that a propane truck is much wider than your car or pickup. The drive must be plowed out wide enough for the truck to back in. Also remind the plow operator of the presence and location of both above ground and underground tanks. Accidental contact of snow removal equipment with tanks could cause a serious safety hazard.
  4. Use extreme caution when operating portable generators. Never use a portable generator (gasoline, diesel or propane) indoors or in enclosed areas. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or death.
  5. "Button-up" your home to conserve energy. If you haven't already done so, check caulking around doors and windows, seal air leaks around openings where plumbing or electrical wiring goes through walls, floors and ceilings, and secure storm windows throughout the house. Conserving energy is a smart thing to do all the time, especially when it is cold.

The Propane Gas Association of New England offers an interactive online safety module at for business and homeowners to stay safe when preparing for or recovering from winter weather.

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