A painful lunchtime phone call
So during my lunch time break I tried to take care of a few home things, one being calling our local propane provider to set up a delivery. Tank is at 4% and better to have the propane a year early than a day late. The painful part is that propane here locally is now at $2.89/gallon. With a 100 gallon minimum for delivery. I spoke with the office manager briefly and she said this is the highest she has ever seen the price of propane. (here is a list of their current pricing going back to 2004) I guess the shortage in Texas and other parts of the country is not helping either.
How is everyone else's prices? Why the shortage? Hence the posting in the ResourceWatch Group. Anybody else feeling the pain?
I paid $3.20/gal back in Nov — and that would be their cheapest domestic price, because I own my tank; most people around here lease theirs and so their base rate is higher.
Over the summer it was $2.60. Last Feb $3.09; the previous Oct $2.52.
No idea what the price is now, but I'm due for a refill pretty soon.
I use propane just for cooking and the backup hot water (to solar).
I am extreeeeeeeemely glad we are not using oil heat anymore (well, it's connected as a backup, but not something we use except under extreme circumstances).
That's the reality of it. Right now commodity prices are crazy. Gold is selling at or near production costs, silver is selling at or below production costs, and natural gas is selling 50% below production costs and returns are only getting lower and lower.
Certainly delivery problems and greed may factor in, but this is the reality of where natural gas/propane prices will head. Natural gas prices need to double and then rise rapidly after that to offset declining well returns. This will certainly result in a similar trend with propane.
Prices I heard on Saturday is close to $6 a gallon here in N. Wisconsin. We are fortunate to be heating with wood, so we only fill our LP tank every 24 months, and then in the summer when prices are at their lowest.
In addition to high prices, deliveries are being limited to 200 gallons at a time. Of course, that $1200 hit to the wallet would be so painful I'd be glad they stopped at 200 gallons. A friend who heats with electricity said they cut him off for five hours the other day due to overloaded distribution system. Seems the high price of LP is driving some folks to use space heaters and such to keep warm.
The most frequent explanation for the shortage is that the farmers used up all the LP when they were drying their corn last fall. I don't have any idea whether that is true. It's been so cold for so long, it could just be high demand and maybe people going into the season with low tanks.
As of yesterday noon it was 5.75, paid in advance, here in NE WI. Two hundred gallons minimum, 500 gallons maximum order. I should have installed that outdoor wood furnace we've been talking about for the last couple years.