Last winter’s bone-chillingly cold temperatures were a factor in a propane shortage that struck Wisconsin and the upper Midwest, making the issue one of the top stories of 2014. By late January, there were many reports of propane customers being almost literally left out in the cold by their suppliers, even though they may have been under contract. Sandy Chalmers with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said that had her agency worried.
“Our concern is that contracts are honored, and that the propane suppliers communicate with their customers when there are supply issues. We all have to work together if we’re going to get through this,” Chalmers said.
Governor Scott Walker got involved in the issue, hoping to help propane dealers to make fuel purchases from suppliers. The state made $8 million available to help assist in temporary lines of credit.
Brandon Scholz, the managing director of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association, said there was “no real playbook” for the shortage. “We’ve not been in this situation for dozens of years.”
In the wake of the crisis, people who rely on propane to heat their homes were urged to have an emergency plan in place, in the event of future shortages.