Propane business booming

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2014

A blast of arctic air – and the threat of even colder weather next week – has local propane companies busy filling tanks.

Propane gas is currently $2.49 per gallon with Casey Propane, according to manager Chad McCrory, and they are already becoming overwhelmed with calls to fill tanks.

“We are definitely getting busy filling tanks,” McCrory said. “With the cold weather, it is definitely putting some pressure on us to get it out there.”

According to a release from the Alabama Propane Gas Association (APGA), “early indications are that volatile weather patterns along with colder than normal weather may in fact return to the Gulf Coast and many other parts of the country for 2014/2015.”

Temperatures dropped to below freezing in many parts of Alabama including Andalusia on Friday morning, and according to the National Weather Service even colder air is expected to follow a front moving through next week.

Temperatures on Monday night and Tuesday morning will drop down to low 20s, with highs just above 40.

The association recommends consumers make the existing delivery system work better by taking some simple steps to prepare for the upcoming winter season.

Customers should contact their dealers and ask about some specific steps they can take to manage their own propane supply, including:

• automatic delivery;

• budget payment plans;

• tank monitoring; and

• equipment tune-ups to increase fuel efficiency.

“We recommend everyone check their tanks before its stays cold for too long,” McCrory said. “And we really want to remind people to order gas before they get down to 20 percent, that way it will give us sufficient time to deliver.”

McCrory said he had not heard of any forecasted propane shortages from the wholesalers he uses, and APGA Executive Director Lisa Hill said dealers have been preparing for months.

“All the dealers are ready for the next four months,” Hill said. “The dealers have their gas, and hopefully customers have preordered their supply.”

Hill also recommends that when tanks get between 20-25 percent, “will-call” customers should go ahead and order more and not wait until the last minute.

“When they wait until the last minute, the propane companies can become overwhelmed,” Hill said. “We want the consumers to be on a “keep-full” schedule, but we work around everyone’s schedule.

“We do hope everyone is prepared,” she said. “Dealers are ready for this weather change.”