Oklahoma Propane Customers Relieved As Prices Begin To Fall

Wednesday, February 5th 2014, 10:40 pm
By: Tess Maune

Days after an unprecedented price spike, there's new hope for Oklahomans using propane to keep warm.

While the price is getting cheaper, it won't fall as fast as it jumped.

1/24/2014 Related Story: Propane Price Spike Leaving Oklahomans In The Cold

Several factors contributed to the propane price spike, but state leaders said the high propane prices won't last forever.

Outside snow was on the ground and a blustery chill in the air. But inside, Jim and Gail Shouse's home it was nice and cozy.

"We're making it, we can't gripe a bit, ya know. We've had our socks blessed off and there ain't no if, ands, or buts about that," Jim Shouse said.

The couple is living out their retirement outside Prue. They don't have a natural gas line or electric heat, so they rely on propane to warm their home and their water.

"I was wondering, what is propane going for now a gallon," Shouse asked while on the phone. "$3.50 a gallon? So it's gone up 40-cents in about two weeks then."

The more expensive propane gets, the more Shouse said he's considering turning off the propane during the day to let his wood-burning stove do the job.

"They really have ya kind of in a quandary, where you either buy or you do without," said Shouse.

But some suppliers said propane prices will soon fall back to more affordable rates.

As propane prices drop, some suppliers will be lowering their rates more quickly than others, that's because if sellers stocked up at the high price, they have to continue selling the pricey propane until it's gone.

State Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague said most Oklahoma propane retailers have locked-in contracts with a distributor in Kansas.

Teague said freezing temperatures disrupted pipeline distribution and transportation of the fuel. But he said a rainy 2013 also played a role because it led to a late harvest.

Grain companies rely on propane to heat and dry crops before storage, driving up demand and the price.

Lawmakers said the spike is a unique combination of incidents. They can't say when exactly the prices will even back out, but say it won't be much longer.