Propane preparedness tips for this winter
By Indiana State Senator Richard D. Young Jr. (D-Milltown)
Word Count: 551

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency declaration for our region regarding a shortage of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG or propane). Regionally, the supply of propane was already low, as the fuel is used to keep grain dry after a wet summer. When the weather produced such low temperatures last winter, high demand caused shortages. When fuel becomes scarce, the prices rise, causing even more hardship on Hoosier families and businesses that rely on this resource.

Last year, farmers used almost 4 times as much propane to dry out their crops than they did the year before. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers will harvest a record 14 billion bushels of corn this year. Although Indiana has not had a particularly wet summer season, this could create another winter of high demand for propane.

With summer coming to an end and winter on its way, the Propane Education and Research Council has launched a campaign to teach consumers how to most efficiently conserve their propane and to coordinate with their propane retailer before winter begins.

The Council also recently approved this $6.1 million safety awareness program consisting of television, radio, print, and online advertisements that propane marketers and state organizations can use. It also features a website to help them share important safety information with their customers.

The Council President and CEO Roy Willis says the propane industry has made substantial investments in storage, additional rail cars and trucking assets to get propane where it needs to go this winter. However, I urge Hoosiers to fill their propane tanks now and make the appropriate plans to ensure their tanks stay full throughout the winter months.

Below are several suggestions from the Propane Education and Research Council:

  • Make sure that you have an adequate propane supply. Ask your propane provider about payment programs and scheduling regular visits so that there’s always enough propane in your tank. This will help avoid ever running empty if inaccessible roads delay deliveries.
  • Confirm that your heating system and appliances are running efficiently. Before the start of each heating season, have a qualified service technician inspect and service your appliances and propane system. When appliances are running as efficiently as possible, you conserve fuel and save money.
  • Install and set a programmable thermostat. You could save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating costs by using a programmable thermostat, and by resetting it when you are asleep or away from home you won’t have to sacrifice comfort.
  • Use sunlight to your advantage. During winter months, you can take advantage of sunlight by opening your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home.
  • Reduce energy for water heating. Water heating is a large energy expense, accounting for about 14 to 18 percent of most home utility bills. By taking low-cost steps such as making sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and installing low-flow showerheads or temperature sensitive shower valves, you can reduce your water heating bills.

Additional resources and tips from the Propane Education and Research Council can be found here:http://www.propanecouncil.org/consumer-safety-preparedness/.

As always, I would like to hear your thoughts and ideas on the issues that matter most to you. Please contact me at (800) 382-9467 or s47@iga.in.gov.

###