Propane shortage driving up prices

By Nick Kovatch on January 22 at 1:01pm

A propane shortage is affecting West Central Illinois. That shortage is causing a dramatic spike in prices.

Our reporting partners at WICS ABC Newschannel 20 spoke with the owner of Illini Propane, who says propane usage is up about 20 to 30 percent compared to previous years thanks to the brutally cold weather.

When you combine high usage and low inventory levels, you get a serious propane supply problem.

Before the season even began, propane levels were down, and experts say now, supplies are at a historic low.

Garrett Savage, owner of Illini Propane in Ashland.

“Supplies kind of came into the winter low because grain drying was very high this year, and then of course the winter has been a lot more severe than we’ve experienced the last few years,” says Savage.

Savage says the propane shortage is a nationwide problem and has suppliers scrambling.

“Our pipeline that supplies Illinois comes up, it’s called the Conway Pipeline, and because a lot of the rest of the country is experiencing shortages, they’ve been pulling out of our supply line, too. I know there are a lot of retailers that are traveling close to a thousand miles to criss-cross the country trying to find gas,” Savage says.

Customers are paying for it. Propane is about $1 higher a gallon this year over last year’s prices.

The concern for propane retailers now is by the time we hit February, the shortage could be even more severe.

“I would encourage anyone that’s using propane to be sure and check their tank, make sure they don’t let their level get low,” Savage says.

Savage says if you use propane to heat your home, you should call your supplier when your tank gets down to 20 percent because it could take a few days before they can make a delivery.

The Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) offers financial assistance for those struggling to pay their propane bill. To qualify, you must meet income eligibility requirements. To schedule an appointment, call MCS Community Services at 217-243-9404.