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Policy: Environment & Energy

Propane shortages unlikely, industry leaders say

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News,Business,Energy and Environment

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin shouldn't experience a propane shortage this heating season like the one it endured last winter and spring, industry officials predicted.

The shortage that Wisconsin and the rest of the Midwest had to deal with at the end of the last heating season was caused largely by extended periods of frigid weather, a pipeline closure and heavy propane demand for the drying of grain.

Wisconsin Propane Gas Association President Chris Tews said the industry learned a lot from last year.

"I'm seeing a totally different, I guess mentality, or plan of attack, not only from the consumers, but also from the dealers alike," said Tews.

Waiting to fill propane tanks contributed to a shortage last year, companies said.

"We just simply couldn't get enough propane where it was needed, fast enough," said Tews.

Garrow Oil and Propane in Appleton invested about $1 million by adding six more tanks this year and can now store 360,000 gallons of propane, twice as much as last year, according to WBAY-TV (http://bit.ly/1uzB0x9 ).

"We've learned a lot. In our industry this has never happened before as it has this past winter. I hope it never does happen again, but I want to be ready to take on that challenge," said company spokeswoman Abby Garrow.

"I think that more dealers and residents that are more prepared are being very proactive about it and I don't anticipate a repeat of last year," said Tews.

Wisconsin propane industry leaders said additional storage capacity and earlier tank fills for residential customers and companies will help avert another shortage.

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Information from: WBAY-TV, http://www.wbay.com

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