COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – Governor Mike Pence announced Wednesday an energy emergency due to propane shortage nationwide. This emergency will ease restrictions on suppliers and transporters of propane, but it requires Hoosiers to cut back on usage.
Gov. Pence said about 500,000 Hoosiers depend on propane to supply heat for their home. Demand significantly increased because of the frigid temperatures over the last couple weeks. Snow storms have also delayed delivery drivers from getting propane to their suppliers.
“It is not an overstatement to say that we are facing a serious shortage in propane,” said Gov. Pence in a press conference in Indianapolis Wednesday.
Under the energy emergency, propane delivery drivers won’t have restricted hours. There’s also no limit on loads suppliers can have. Indiana Department of Transportation and the Department of Revenue will expedite any permit applications and waive any oversize loads fees. All this will happen until March 1st.
Five million dollars will also be allocated for the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to local service providers. LIHEAP officials will increase their crisis benefits from $400 to $550 through March 31st.
“We were kind of wondered 10 to 12 days ago why the word wasn’t getting out,” said United Oil Corporation president, Bill Auer.
Auer said the energy emergency will help propane companies to keep up with the demand. He said there is a waiting list for new customers that have been looking for a new supplier. His current customers are only allowed 150 gallons, which is 30 percent of normal supply. 25 to 30 percent of propane will last an average household about two weeks.
“If you’re at 25-30, you probably not going to see us that quick,” he said. “It’s going to be further down the road because we have people with lower percentage.”
Governor Pence said he will be working with the General Assembly to see if there are more avenues to help ease any more propane woes.
The price of propane has increased three to six times normal market price. The Indiana Attorney General has released a statement claiming this could open the door up for price gouging. If customers suspect price gouging, contact the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.