Rising Propane Prices Frustrating Customers

3 years 3 weeks 3 days ago March 02, 2014 Mar 2, 2014 Sunday, March 02 2014 Sunday, March 02, 2014 11:09:00 AM CST in News
By: Ben Wilson, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - A nationwide propane shortage continues to impact Mid-Missourians.  In December 2013, it cost $1.95 per gallon for propane in Missouri.  By the middle of February, prices had skyrocketed to nearly $3.50 per gallon.

For customers of some companies, their prices went up even higher.  Ferrell Gas customer Teresa Rusler said when she called for a propane fillup in early February, she was given a $5.66 per gallon quote.  "I called three other propane providers, and they offered it at $3.99 to their customers- [but] they weren't taking any new customers."

Neither Ferrell Gas nor any other Mid-Missouri propane provider would go on camera with KOMU to discuss the propane shortage.  But over the phone, managers said the increased prices are entirely supply and demand based.  Demand for propane goes up when wintry weather strikes, leading to a decrease in supply, they said.

State Attorney General Chris Koster, who office said their propane investigation is ongoing, would also not talk on camera with KOMU.  

In the midst of the shortage, The Salvation Army offered some financial assistance to Mid-Missourians struggling to pay their bills, a measure rarely taken by the organization, according to Columbia Regional Director Cyndy Chapman.  "In my eight years, I've never seen a program that's specified for propane like this," she said.

While short-term assistance has helped some Missourians, many others are still left wondering why prices spiked so much, and whether or not it is bound to happen again in the future.

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