Propane Supply Dwindling; Gov. Declares Energy Emergency
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Mike Pence is declaring an energy emergency because of a worsening propane shortage that could leave thousands of Hoosiers without an efficient way to heat their homes.
Pence announced Wednesday that he has waived limits on driving hours for propane delivery trucks and ordered regulators to waive fees for overweight trucks carrying propane. The governor had first issued the order on January 3 through January 31. The new order extends the waiver through March 1.
Members of Indiana’s congressional delegation, including Sixth District Congressman Luke Messer, wrote a joint letter Wednesday to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today requesting a similar federal emergency extension beyond February 11 for propane transporters.
An estimated 500,000 Indiana homes use propane for heating.
“Hoosier homeowners, businesses and the farming community are facing propane shortages and unrelenting temperatures, and the State continues to exhaust all possible options to alleviate the impact of this crisis,” said Pence. “As in the past, the compassionate nature of Hoosiers is evident, and I urge all to be mindful of their propane usage, and I ask those who might have a surplus to help their neighbors in need.”
Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann called the situation potentially life-threatening.
Those with more propane than needed are asked to contact their local propane supplier. One example offered was farmers with leftover propane from the grain drying season.
“With this cooperation we will minimize the impact of this shortage on residents, agriculture, and businesses,” Ellspermann said.
The scarce supply of propane in Indiana has caused prices to rise dramatically. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average price of propane has shot up by $1.05 in the past week to $4.01 per gallon. In Indiana, that price is up $1.27 to $4.22
In response, Pence has added $5 million to the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that helps homeowners pay energy bills. Homes receiving LIHEAP will see their benefit increase from $400 to $500. Hoosier at or below 150 percent of poverty level – or making about $35,000 a year for a family of four – can all 1-800-872-0371 for more information on LIHEAP.