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Homeowners struggle with high propane costs

8:07 AM, Jan 28, 2014   |    comments
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Cedar Springs, Mich. (WZZM) People who use propane to heat their homes are experiencing a bit of sticker shock.

Demand is putting pressure on supply. It's been an uncommonly cold winter, and people are using more propane. There are also transportation issues, billions of gallons of propane were exported overseas, and farmers are using more to dry corn.

Emily Smith lives in Cedar Springs and is a customer of Amerigas. She says her January bill of $872 was a shock. Smith says she contacted the company and found out she was paying roughly $3.50 a gallon. 

Marc Foerster is from Crystal Flash, "Just last week it jumped a dollar per gallon.  So from spring of last year it's up almost a dollar and a half to two dollars per gallon." Foerster says the main reason propane prices are higher in West Michigan is because producers can't get it to customers quickly enough.

"Mostly it's transportation," says Foerster. "There is a lot of propane in the areas producing it like Texas and Kansas, but moving that across the country has become an issue. 

"A pellet stove is in our future I really do I think that's our best bet I don't know what else to do I can't pay this much every single month," says Smith.

To protect themselves from price spikes Foerster recommends people buy a purchase protection plan to lock in a low propane price per gallon, and then make equal monthly payments, even in the summer when consumption is low.

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