The propane industry reported a positive winter outlook as officials met to brief governors at the Midwestern Governor's Association Propane Meeting in Milwaukee, Wis., Wednesday.
Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook. The report projected warmer winter temperatures and a 34% reduction in heating bills for propane-heated homes in the Midwest this season compared with last winter.
The report also showed propane stocks in the Gulf Coast and Midwest were 10 million barrels, or 17% higher, than last year for the same period, and overall propane production is up 12% from the previous year.
"These are positive signs," said Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council, "but our industry is working hard to ensure our customers are prepared. Propane retailers across the country remain focused on safety and encouraging customers to consider early fills, automatic refills, and payment programs now before cold weather hits."
PERC launched a $5.5 million consumer safety and preparedness campaign in early September directing residential heating customers and agribusiness operators to visit a new propane website.
On the site, propane customers can take a quiz to determine if they are prepared for winter and review energy efficiency tips.
Preliminary numbers for the campaign show that nearly 20,000 customers have already taken advantage of our online resources, Willis said. PERC expects to see continued engagement closer to winter.
Television ads will continue to air through Thanksgiving in 30 states most affected by deliverability challenges and temporary price increases last winter.
Willis says the PERC is also continuing to drive investments in new technology that will even out seasonal demands during winter months.
"We're remaining focused on monitoring the seasonal demand for propane and implementing strategies to even out yearly demand," he said.
Strategies for evening out demand include commercializing new technologies that run on propane, he noted.