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Homeowners worried about propane prices, but good news is on the way

Homeowners who use propane worried about prices

ELLICOTT, Colo - As the price of propane rises, eastern El Paso County residents who use the gas to heat their homes could be paying big bucks.

Barbara Bernard said last time she bought propane in September, it was less than $2 a gallon. Now, it's between $3.90 and $5.75 a gallon.

"You don't want people to freeze to death because they can't afford the propane," she said.

Bernard said she'll manage, but she's worried about her neighbors. The Ellicott Fire Department is concerned too.

"I expect the fire departments, not only us but any of the rest of them, to have an increase of calls to go rescue those people that are cold, they can't afford their propane," Assistant Fire Chief Christy Malone said.

According to the Colorado Propane Gas Association, the problem started in October. Midwestern farmers were dealing with a lot of moisture during the harvest. To dry their crops, they used massive amounts of propane. Then, came the frigid temperatures. Refineries couldn't rebuild inventories. Inventory is now at it's lowest it's been in 20 years.

But there's good news. Propane wholesale prices are starting to normalize, according to the CPGA. This week, suppliers started pumping propane from Texas to Kansas, where most of Colorado's propane supply comes from. The CPGA is asking the state to waive the limit of hours propane drivers can work so they can deliver more of the gas. And it's asking for state and federal resources to help low-income residents who can't afford propane.

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