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Propane shortage translates to price increase

Shortage of propane in the Midwest has called a “snowball effect” that has trickled down to Halifax County causing local residents to see repercussions in the form of higher prices and short supply. 

According to Daniel Bowes of Southern States, the national supply “is a third of what they should be” causing a “massive backup.” 

“What we would normally get in a 24-hour time frame is now taking three to five days. Drivers are taking 15 to 18 hours to get one load from the distribution point,” said Bowes. 

With this backup, customers also are experiencing a hike in prices. 

In the past 10 days, Bowes said there has been a pricing increase of “60 to 70 cents.” 

“When you see an increase from let’s say $2.60 to $3.30 in a 10-day time frame, it’s totally proportional to supply and demand,” said Bowes. 

Offering advice to customers, Bowes said, “The biggest thing I can say to any customer is to give the company ample notice when you need a refill. Waiting to the last minute isn’t going to help.” 

Until the wintry weather changes, things probably aren’t going to change, according to Bowes. 

“A half of the country is below freezing. All these polar blasts have really affected us. It’s hard for me to fathom how much the cost is to heat a home in places like New York,” said Bowes. 

Davenport Energy, like other propane providers, is experiencing propane shortages from suppliers, and they are paying “historically high prices” for the propane they receive.  

“These prices are a hardship to our customers,” said Executive Vice-President Harold Thornton. 

Davenport Energy has propane available for its customers and are taking measures to insure supply over the next few weeks by exploring every available area for propane supplies.   

Since Jan. 17, 2014, Davenport Energy’s propane supplies have doubled propane prices. Prices increased over $1/gallon in a three-day period. 

“Davenport Energy is absorbing a portion of the cost increase and is, by necessity, passing along price increases to our customers.  We are also taking measures to make sure that all customers remain supplied with propane,” said Thornton. 

Fortunately, a large number of our customers fixed prices at lower levels in the fall through our “Lock in Program.”

“We are sorry that this unprecedented situation has occurred,” said Thornton.  

Long-term cold weather, low beginning season inventories of propane, pipeline and transportation problems and increased exporting of domestic propane overseas have led to this “perfect storm.”  

“We find the price increases to Davenport Energy unconscionable.  We will seek answers from suppliers and those controlling the propane infrastructure as to the causes of this propane issue,” said Thornton. 

Davenport Energy will continue to be diligent in attempting to find available, reasonably-priced propane. Until the weather and propane supply problems moderate, this situation may continue.   

“We are making every effort to supply, service and work with our customers during this crisis,” said Thornton.