What the propane shortage means for businesses and customers

By KBJR News 1

December 19, 2013 Updated Dec 19, 2013 at 8:43 PM CST

Superior, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) -- Propane tanks are working overtime this winter to keep homes across the Northland warm.
But a number of companies are facing an up–hill battle to fill them.

"It's kind of now been a scramble to get propane and try to provide it to our current customers," said Vice President of Superior Fuel, Ryan Gunderson.

Companies such as Superior Fuel are filling their customer's tanks only half way and limiting sales to 200 gallons of propane per customer.

The shortage of supply and high demand is also driving the price of propane up.

"Typically we see gas, usually in the winter time, like last winter on average $1.70, $1.80 per gallon. Where this year it's well over two dollars a gallon and it just keeps rising," said Gunderson.

Spokespeople at Como say the shortage is due to a colder winter last year and corn farmers using propane to dry out their crops.

"We came off a major crop dry in Southern Minnesota and the southern states, they use a lot of propane to dry the crops and corn drying and then we came right into below zero weather that we are not accustomed to having until about January," said CFO of Como, Joe Stariha.

Officials say maintenance on the Cochin pipeline, which runs from Canada through the Midwest is also contributing to the waning supply of the fuel.

Como officials say their company is not feeling the affects of the shortage as much.

"Its tight right now but there's not what we would call a shortage as far as Como is concerned," said Stariha.

Como officials say the shortage should ease up by January.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com