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Higher propane prices, lower supplies puts squeeze on budgets

But Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet has tips to better assure supply, spread out payments for the six percent of Kentucky families who use propane for heating. And weather will be the controlling factor . . .
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By John Mura
News from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet

FRANKFORT, KY (7 Dec 2017) - The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and Kentucky's propane industry want Kentuckians to be prepared to meet their home heating demands this winter.

"Weather is a dominant influence in the demand for propane - colder winters both increase demand and negatively impact deliverability," said Rick Bender, executive advisor to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. "While weather is difficult to predict, forecasts indicate that we'll experience a colder winter for the region, and we want to make sure citizens are prepared."

Inventories of U.S. heating oil and propane are lower this year than last year; however they are still within the average yearly total of the previous five years. As of November 24, propane inventory levels were at 73.2 million barrels, 27 percent lower than at the same time last year.

Tod Griffin, executive director of the Kentucky Propane Gas Association, pointed out that while supplies are within the five-year average, there are issues with storage and transportation. "U.S. propane production has increased over the past several years; the challenges we see are decreases in storage capacity at production facilities, an increase in exports out of the U.S. and bottlenecks in the transportation infrastructure," he said.

Griffin said the propane industry strongly urges customers to:
  • Sign up for automatic delivery rather than calling at the last minute. This allows dealers to better schedule delivery trucks and helps ensure that customers will not run out.
  • Sign up for budget payment plans. This helps customers spread the payments over several months.
  • Know how much you have left in the tank. Unless your dealer requests otherwise, call when the level hits 10-15 percent. This will allow your dealer to schedule a refill in a timely manner.
  • Have a professional perform regular maintenance on equipment and appliances to increase fuel efficiency.
According to the 2015 American Community Survey, (five-year estimates) from the U.S. Census Bureau, a little more than six percent of Kentucky households use bottled, tank or LP gas.

The EIA Heating Oil and Propane Update, released Nov. 29, reported the average price for residential propane in Kentucky was $2.20 a gallon, 17 percent higher than the same time last year ($1.88, 2016 price).

Kentucky collects residential heating oil and propane price data through participation in EIA's State Heating Oil and Propane Program, a joint effort between EIA and state energy offices to provide timely price data to heating oil and propane markets.

For information about SHOPP or Kentucky's energy programs, contact Lee Colten, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet,

This story was posted on 2017-12-07 09:49:53
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