By Randa Wagner
January 20, 2014
Arctic air is returning to north central Ohio this week - just in time for a propane shortage.
The National Weather Service in Cleveland announced Monday that north central Ohio will experience hazardous weather in the form of frigid temperatures all week. Arctic air moved back into the area yesterday and will linger… highs will generally be in the teens, with lows around zero and wind chills ranging from -5 to -20.
A shortage of propane couldn’t have come at a worse time.
In a press release last week, Consolidated Gas Cooperative stated the propane shortage reported in areas of Indiana and Michigan has now spread to Ohio, and many propane companies are urging their customers to cut back on usage over the next couple of weeks.
Saturday afternoon, a State of Energy Emergency for propane and heating oil was declared by Governor Kasich for all of Ohio. This emergency declaration waived previous regulations still in place for many of Ohio’s 88 counties for motor carriers and drivers transporting propane and heating oil.
“Morrow County propane distributors are getting critically short on propane and are only delivering approximately 150 gallons of fuel per customer,” Sheriff Steve Brenneman posted on the Department’s Facebook page. “Households running out of fuel should contact the Red Cross for sheltering. Morrow County uses more propane than any other County in Ohio. Distributors have indicated they are 3 days out from replenishing their supplies, weather permitting as major deliveries come from out West.”
“We are doing everything possible to obtain propane for Consolidated Gas customers,” said Consolidated Gas Cooperative Vice President, Roger Stewart. “It’s possible it may become a critical situation with the cold temperatures that are predicted for our area. We are asking our customers to be patient with us during this very difficult situation.”
A main supplier of Consolidated Gas Cooperative had an agreement for the exchange of 410,000 gallons of propane available through the end of April. However, Consolidated Gas Cooperative has been informed that its deliveries have been restricted and they are unsure when they will provide another shipment.
“Our propane supply is very limited,” said Stewart. “We are limiting the amount of propane our customers can receive. Consolidated Gas Cooperative is seeking alternative approaches of receiving propane. Unfortunately, this situation is expected to remain harsh until the winter weather breaks and we receive our full supplies.”
Stewart added the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has granted an extension of limited regulatory relief of the intrastate transport of motor fuels, heating oil and propane. The extension will allow drivers to deliver propane to customers and travel further distances to pick up fuel shipments, if needed.