AmeriGas, the nation’s largest propane company, is rationing deliveries to customers in a few service territories because of a fuel shortage in the Midwest that forced 24 states to declare energy emergencies.
Company spokesman Simon Bowman said the Pennsylvania-based provider is working hard to alleviate supply issues and ensure that customers’ needs are met.
“AmeriGas’s size, purchasing power, supply and logistics team, and our fleet of long-haul transports enable us to quickly get propane supply to the areas currently in need,” Bowman said in an e-mail. “Our goal is to ensure that everyone stays warm and safe this winter.”
Bowman said the affected service territories change daily, and he would not say whether the Augusta area is included.
Local suppliers said Monday that propane remains available; however, prices shot up to $4.29 a gallon from $2.79 a week ago.
Bowman said AmeriGas has fielded numerous questions in recent days about propane supply, prices and what the more than 2 million customers nationwide can do to manage their energy use during this severe winter.
He said consumers should take the following steps to stay safe and receive their gas deliveries:
• Clear snow and ice from around propane tanks, chimneys, flue pipes and vents. Use a broom rather than a shovel, and clear the areas frequently to reduce the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. If pipes freeze and crack, gas can leak out and pose a danger.
• Keep a path clear to propane tanks. That will help delivery drivers to get to the tanks, refill them and get to the next home.
• Use extreme caution when operating portable generators. Never use a portable generator (gasoline, diesel or propane) indoors or in enclosed areas. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or death.
• “Button up” homes to conserve energy by checking caulking around doors and windows, sealing air leaks around openings where plumbing or electrical wiring goes through walls, floors and ceilings, and securing storm windows throughout the house.
• Call your local propane gas office with any questions about your tank or to be sure your tank is kept full.