With prices tripling in a few weeks and the state locked in a pattern of frigid cold temperatures, Gov. Scott Walker announced plans to help Monday.
The governor is requesting the release of $8.5 million to help support low-income residents in the state who are struggling to purchase propane.
“While we cannot produce more propane ourselves, I have directed additional funds be made available to help our most vulnerable citizens pay for the fuel they need, and ensure propane dealers are able to obtain and deliver the supply we do have,” Walker said.
To assist propane dealers the governor is making $8 million available to help those distributors obtain temporary lines of credit. When the propane prices tripled some propane dealers found themselves unable to pay upfront for shipments of propane. The temporary lines of credit will help get propane into the state.
“There’s a concern that suppliers are requiring cash in large, upfront payments that makes it difficult, particularly for some of our small businesses that provide propane in the state. We don’t want to have propane somewhere and not be accessible to the end user, and so we’re going to have $8 million provided to help assist in temporary lines of credit,” Walker said.
The propane supply shortage is being blamed on a series of issues. The region has experienced an unusually cold winter. A major pipeline that supplies propane to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa was temporarily closed in December for maintenance and the wet fall increased propane demand for grain drying.
Walker plans to look into improvements to infrastructure for the delivery of propane.
He is also asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into the propane price spike to ensure no anti-competitive activity occurred.
Individuals needing assistance paying for propane are being asked to call 1-866-432-8947. Residents can also apply for heating assistance through the WHEAP program.
If eligible, the WHEAP program will make payments directly to fuel suppliers for the cost of the propane. Benefits are available through May 15.