Today the Governor took several actions to address the propane shortage being experienced in Wisconsin after having declared a state of emergency over the weekend. The Governor ordered the Department of Administration’s Division of Energy Services to make an additional $7 million available to counties administering the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). For more information and criteria on eligibility for the program, you may contact the energy assistance call center at 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).
The rapidly rising cost of propane has exhausted some propane retailers’ lines of credit to replenish their supplies of propane as they become available. In response, the Governor directed the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to implement a $5 million loan guarantee plan aimed at providing these propane retailers with a new line of credit. Under the plan, WEDC will offer 80% loan guarantees to Wisconsin propane retailers.
Additionally, the Governor instructed the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to move forward with a similar $3 million loan guarantee plan for propane dealers. While these actions seek to address the cost of propane, supply issues continue to keep propane reserves low. Prior actions to enable companies to ship propane into Wisconsin by truck remain in place to aid in the effort to increase the supply of propane.
In rural parts of our state, many Wisconsinites rely on the use of propane fuel, also referred to as liquefied petroleum (LP) gas, to heat their homes. Currently, a shortage of propane is affecting much of the country, including Wisconsin and the Midwest. The shortage is attributable to numerous factors including an unusually cold winter, the shutdown of a pipeline that previously supplied a substantial portion of the region’s propane supply, and a fall harvest that saw increased use of propane for corn drying.
To address the shortage in Wisconsin, the Governor has issued executive orders relaxing certain trucking regulations in an effort to increase the state’s supply of propane. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a declaration of emergency that will also aid propane transporters to meet demand.
The limited supply of propane is also resulting in burdensome price increases for many consumers. Individuals affected by the shortage are encouraged to contact their county’s social services office to inquire about their eligibility for assistance under the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). For more information you may contact the energy assistance call center at 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).
With more bitterly cold weather on its way, you are encouraged to check in on those you know that are using propane for their heating source. Additionally, other recommendations include calling to schedule a delivery when your tank is 30% full to help ensure that you receive additional fuel to meet your needs and to lower the temperature in your home by a degree or two to conserve propane.