Oklahoma Governor Issues Order To Ease Propane Shortage


Tuesday, January 7th 2014, 8:12 pm
By: Tess Maune


The Governor said our propane supply is depleting rapidly in the extreme winter weather causing a state of emergency.

There are 400,000 Oklahomans who use propane to heat their home and the governor says her executive order will ensure there's enough propane to keep Oklahoma families warm for the rest of winter.

The severe propane shortage in and around Oklahoma is simple to explain.

"It's just a cold winter and that's just creating lots of demand," said Richard Hess, Executive Director of Oklahoma LP Gas Marketing and Safety Commission.

The commission is designed to educate the public about the propane industry.

Hess says nationwide supplies for propane are down 30 percent compared to last year, for a number of reasons.

"A pipeline that used to bring propane to the Tulsa area is now carrying crude oil," said Hess. "So that's eliminated one of the transportation methods.

But the primary factor for the drop in propane, according to Hess, "Propane retailers or distributors base their purchases on previous year's sales."

The past two winters, especially in Oklahoma, have been mild.

"Apparently they kind of underestimated the need this year, so I suspect they'll increase production and it'll be short order." Hess said, "We'll be able to meet the demand without emergency orders."

The Governor's executive order provided a waiver of federal regulations, which will temporarily allow truck drivers hauling propane to exceed the number of hours and consecutive days they're behind the wheel to ensure the product gets where it needs to be.

In the meantime, propane companies are taking steps of their own to stretch the supply as much as possible.

"In a situation where supplies are limited, instead of bringing a customer 500 gallons, they may have to limit all their customers to 100 or 150 until supplies can be built back up again," Hess said.

The order also waives licensing requirements so eligible out-of-state propane transporters can bring propane into Oklahoma.

The order is effective through February 4th.

Governor's in 15 others states have issued similar orders.