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Wisconsin governor urges early propane orders

  • Associated Press
  • August 22, 2014 - 4:15 PM

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker on Friday urged thousands of households that receive state heating assistance to start filing applications now for help with propane costs.

Wisconsin and other Midwestern states grappled with a profound propane shortage toward the end of last winter due largely to extended periods of frigid weather, a pipeline closure and heavy propane demand for drying grain.

Walker's office said in a news release Friday that similar factors could be in play again this winter. In order to get ahead of another potential shortage, his administration will start processing applications for help with propane costs from households that participate in the Wisconsin Heating and Energy Assistance Program now rather than when the program begins in October.

WHEAP officials will use the applications to estimate customer benefits and fill tanks earlier at lower summer prices. Currently propane is going for $1.69 per gallon compared with an average of $3.04 per gallon at the end of February.

The administration said early orders could save the state about $1 million as well as help get tanks filled sooner, ensure propane dealers have ample supply when the cold weather hits and prevent stress on the supply chain.

WHEAP provided assistance to 224,731 households last winter. About 25,000 used propane. The administration plans to send letters over the next week to those homes encouraging them to complete their applications.

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