NEW INFORMATION: Walker to hold meeting to discuss propane shortage

By: Sarah Moon Email
By: Sarah Moon Email
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he will be gathering stakeholders on Monday to discuss a shortage of propane heating fuel in Wisconsin.

Walker said Thursday there is no quick fix to the shortage hitting many regions nationwide and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.

Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz on Wednesday asked Walker to use some of the state's surplus revenue to address the problem, but Walker says more money will not have an impact.

Winter storms and bitter cold are contributing to the problem.

According to the Energy Department 5.5 million U.S. households heat with propane, mostly in the Midwest and South.

WEST SALEM, Wis. (WEAU) --Experts said propane is in short supply right now, and the cost has gone up.

Propane prices have increased dramatically.

Jeff Bunker who’s the director of energy at Allied Cooperative in West Salem said their price has almost doubled in the last week.

“Our price at the terminal has gone up about $1.50 a gallon on the propane, which is a huge move in the propane market,” said Bunker.

Bunker also said for the most part supply has been a problem in the upper Midwest, especially Wisconsin.

However, he said right now Allied has an adequate supply.

“I constantly get calls from other competitors, other suppliers wondering if we have extra gas available,” said Bunker.

Bunker said if there’s a propane supply and you locked your price in last summer, you should be fine, but if you didn’t it’s going to cost you.”

Bunker said prices have increased and there’s a short supply, because more propane was used to dry corn, because it didn’t dry naturally in the fields.

He also said normally there’s time to replenish the supply between the corn harvest and heating season, but that didn’t happen this year.

“The draw that we are continuing to have especially with these colder weeks it’s getting to the point where it’s getting serious,” said Bunker.

UW-L economics professor Mike Haupert said while consumers might be paying more now, they shouldn’t necessarily be concerned.

“If there’s anything that would make consumers feel better it’s that prices probably aren’t going to jump a whole lot over the long term and even now, this is a short term problem,” said Haupert.

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