United Propane Gas addresses shortage, price concerns
MCRACKEN COUNTY, KY. - Since the propane shortage started hitting the Local 6 area, customers have reached out to share their frustrations. After the Kentucky Attorney General's Office filed a complaint against United Propane Gas, more concerns came in.
Many surrounded the prepaid propane contracts and pricing, others about the supply. Wednesday, Eric Small, President of United Propane Gas sat down to answer some of those concerns.
"It's a combination of transportation and inventory. The inventory got extremely low and at the same time the transportation, which is basically pipelines, trucks, and thing like that, that normally move the product from the storage areas which are usually in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Southern Mississippi," he said. "It has been a struggle to get gas moved because everyone is trying to get all the gas moved at one time."
Small said their pre-paid propane is stocked completely separately than their fair market propane. Pre-paid propane is stored in Texas and unavailable until around February 15.
Small said he feels for customers who are having to pay a higher price for propane and encourages them hang on for as long as they can without purchasing at the higher price, until he can honor the contracts.
"We will fulfill every contract at the price that they entered in it. Just give us some time," he said and added that deadlines on those contracts will not be enforced.
In the meantime, he said customers are welcome to a waiver if they'd like to have another company fill their tanks, despite the formal complaint the Kentucky Attorney General filed against his company last week.
"I know that statement has been made, but we weren't aware of anything like that and when we read the statement we didn't understand it because we had been offering waivers," he said. When he was contacted by the AG's office he thought they were compiling information before seeking a blanket authority for the state.
Despite the long list of challenges Small said the company has faced, and even though he knows not all customers would agree, he's happy with their efforts.
"To have 50% of the gas that you had last January, which was a mild winter, and spread that among all your customers and keep everybody warm and take care of the homes especially, I think we've done really well," he said.
Although, he does admit things are not going as smoothly as they could, so he's coming up with ways to improve.
"We're having to rethink our whole pattern of distribution from one end to the other next year," he said and added he's already started devising a plan. "I've learned that we're going to make some changes this summer. We're going to put in some more distribution locations to help with the 'call avalanche' that all the calls coming in, we're going to spread that out better. We're going to have more suppliers and do better arranging our shipments. We've kind of got lax in that because every year it was so easy to do," he said. "Last year was just nothing, everything worked like a clock and this year nothing worked."
If any propane customers are concerned about the propane provider, they are encouraged to contact the Attorney General in their state.