The two companies that supply propane in the Macon County area have both announced gas shortages and a temporary conservation plan, effective immediately. Webbtown Propane and Amerigas each issued statements, passing along a message that came through the Tennessee Propane Gas Association.
“We were fine until Monday,” said Jane Farley at Webbtown Propane on Thursday. “But where it’s been so cold and everyone used so much, they just cut us off.
“They are price gouging us, period. We had all this gas on order, but they said—‘that won’t be delivered , but we can deliver this much at this price.’ And you go, ‘what?’ But you say yes. Right now that’s all we can do. We can say no and not deliver it to our customers, or say ‘okay, we’re going to manage this as best we can, and try not to let anybody get cold.’
“We’re trying not to let any one of our customers run out of gas. We’re delivering a minimum amount, but we’re delivering… we’re looking at usage for each customer, and trying go by that. It’s not that we want your tank to be filled; we want to deliver enough to get you through. They’re saying maybe three weeks. So we’re going to lose money at it, but it’s the only way we know to manage.”
Simon Bowman with Amerigas had a similar statement. “So basically, we are seeing in your area, we are rationing deliveries, which means that if you need 200 gallons, we’ll deliver 100 or 150 to you. And this situation will hopefully be resolved in the next week or two. But it’s depending on the weather; it if it stays below average for a long time, that period could be a little longer. And unfortunately gas is a little more expensive, for us at the wholesale level. It’s up 60% compared to last year. Hopefully we’ll resolve this situation quickly, because we’re the largest supply company in America, and we have a fleet of long haul transports that can get produce into the areas affected by the shortage.”
The statement issued by the Tennessee Propane Gas Association thanks TN Governor Haslam for issuing an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency that allows uninterrupted delivery of home heating fuels earlier this week. It also cites the U.S. Department of Energy’s report that the largest propane withdrawals in a 20 year history have been recorded.
“As a result of this transportation and supply situation,” states the TPGA press release, “the industry is already seeing some unprecedented increases in the wholesale cost of propane which inevitably affect the end user; the propane customer. In addition to seeking relief at the federal level, NPGA is working with officials within the pipeline, rail, and truck transport industries and asking for propane shipments to be prioritized within their industry.”