Wis. Governor Scott Walker requests flexibility for propane assistance

By KBJR News 1

Credit: MGN Online

Wis. Governor Scott Walker requests flexibility for propane assistance

June 19, 2014 Updated Jun 19, 2014 at 1:02 PM CDT

Madison, WI (NNCNOW.com) - Governor Scott Walker is urging the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to allow Wisconsin to distribute funding from its Low Income Housing Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) program starting July 1 so that propane customers can fill their tanks during the summer while prices are lower.

Governor Walker requested that Wisconsin be able to distribute federal LIHEAP funds starting in July, rather than waiting until October, which is when the federal government distributes LIHEAP funding to the states at the start of its fiscal year.

The request will allow customers to purchase more fuel at a lower price during the summer months, while potentially saving Wisconsin's heating assistance program as much as $1 million.

Right now, the average propane retail price is $1.78 per gallon compared to an average of $3.04 per gallon that customers paid at the end of February 2014.

Propane industry officials have indicated to Governor Walker they support this request to President Obama, and believe that spreading out the demand for propane would enhance their customer service capabilities year round.

Last winter, Governor Walker took steps to help alleviate the effects the propane shortage on residents who use propane to heat their home or business.

This includes a propane "swap" between the state, We Energies, and Madison Gas and Electric. The utilities provided 110,000 gallons of propane to serve low-income customers.

The state recently replenished its propane supply by purchasing the fuel in the off-season at lower wholesale prices, saving $78,000.