Indiana’s Attorney General Responds to Propane Shortage
February 5th — Record –breaking low temperatures this winter continue to strain the nation’s propane supply, and Indiana’s top officials are stepping in to help provide relief to Hoosiers. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced that his office will assist consumers experiencing supplier issues. According to a press release from Zoeller’s office, if a resident’s propane supply is at or below 10 percent, and they are having difficulty contacting their supplier or finding an alternative supplier, the resident can contact the AG’s office for support. Zoeller says his staff will personally contact suppliers on behalf of consumers to determine the reason for delayed delivery or failure to respond.
“The extreme winter conditions and market forces have created substantial problems for Hoosiers who are trying to keep their families warm, but also for the industry trying to meet the needs of their customers,” Zoeller said. “My office is offering to help customers by following up with their propane provider to mediate delivery issues or by ensuring another provider can be a source of temporary supply, if needed. It is our hope these efforts will help ensure Hoosiers have the fuel they need to heat their homes during this weather emergency.” Zoeller says he is also working with the Indiana Propane Gas Association to help resolve issues.
According to Zoeller’s office, consumers often need a written authorization from their propane supplier in order to have a different company service their tank, but Zoeller said there are exceptions. State law allows customers to bypass the requirement in some situations, including a weather emergency or if their regular suppliers fail or are unable to make timely deliveries. Zoeller reminds consumers that his office cannot assist with negotiating the price of propane, however they will investigate consumer claims of price gouging. Since Dec. 16, the Attorney General’s office has received 290 consumer complaints related to the propane shortage.
Zoeller’s offer of consumer assistance comes just one day after Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to address the propane supply shortage across the Midwest. The letter, initiated by the Midwestern Governors Association, calls on the entire Administration, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Association, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and any other relevant agencies, to take any possible steps to alleviate propane shortages.
“In recent weeks, the State of Indiana has acted decisively to alleviate the impact of this crisis on the people of this state and now encourages the federal government to take every possible action to relieve the supply shortages and ensure families, farmers, and business owners can heat their homes, barns, and businesses,” said Governor Pence.
The letter includes signatures from the governors of Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.