Unplugged Energy Independence

Getting gouged by propane prices?

Posted by Kelsey Loeffler on Thu,Jan 30,2014 @ 09:54 AM

alternative heatingGetting gouged by propane prices? If so, you're not alone. Some 14 million Americans who rely on propane have been shelling out more and more to heat their homes while the strong demand has outpaced the already low inventories, energy officials say.

Now is a better time than ever to switch to alternative energy. Free yourself from the rollercoaster of fluctuating fossil fuel prices.

Don't just take our word for it. Here are some recent articles from around the U.S

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Scott Walker declares state of emergency on propane shortage.

Citing another wave of frigid weather bearing down on Wisconsin and dangerously low supplies of propane, Governor Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency. Walker directed all state agencies "to assist as appropriate" in helping residents deal with the propane shortage, which has sent prices soaring and left some users struggling to find a supplier who will provide fuel.

Nearly 250,000 Wisconsin homes heat with propane, many in rural areas not served by natural gas lines.

The shortage — attributed to a colder-than-normal winter, the shutdown of a key supply pipeline earlier in the season and heavy use of propane by farmers to dry grain last fall — has sent prices for many customers well above $5 a gallon. Read the full article here.

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Midwest faces propane emergency as more cold weather moves in.

Millions of residents in the Midwest and Northeast who rely on propane to heat their homes are facing a severe shortage and spiking prices as another wave of freezing weather heads east. Now, states across the region are deploying emergency resources as a result.

Blame for the propane shortage lies with the wetter-than-usual fall, which meant that farmers used more propane than usual to dry corn crops; an unusually cold winter; and a temporary shutdown of a major pipeline for maintenance this year.

As a result, propane prices are setting new records. The average price of a gallon of residential propane for the week ending Jan. 20 hit $2.96, according to the Energy Information Administration, up 60 cents from mid-October, the highest price ever recorded by the agency. Prices in the Midwest are even higher; on Friday, prices ended at $4.30 a gallon in the Midwest, down from a peak of about $5 a gallon. Read full article here.

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Propane shortage slams farmers.

A propane squeeze caused by January’s bitter cold has put the hurt on Minnesota’s livestock industry, as farmers scramble to find costly fuel to keep their animals warm.

Some turkey growers are being told by suppliers that the propane spigot might get turned off if the cold keeps up over the next week.

Shortage worries are particularly acute in the ­turkey industry, and Minnesota is the nation’s leading turkey-producing state, with about 250 growers.

Fuel suppliers have told some farmers that they have “five days left of propane,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “The big concern is availability.”

Farmers — along with propane users of all stripes — are paying huge premiums for the fuel these days. Wholesale spot prices in Minnesota have gone from about $3.75 per gallon a few days ago to just south of $5 a gallon. Last fall, the propane price was $1.55 per gallon, and most of the run-up since then has occurred this month. Read full article here.

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U.S. propane shortage hits millions during brutal freeze.

Millions of Americans are feeling the pinch of a propane shortage this week as brutal cold exposes the supply vulnerabilities of a fuel that heats homes, schools and businesses across wide swathes of the United States.

Prices of the fuel, a liquefied petroleum gas, have rocketed to all-time highs in Midwestern states, distributors are rationing supplies, and some schools have shut due to a lack of the fuel during this year's second bout of Arctic weather.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued emergency orders suspending the limits on the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road for 10 Midwestern states and 12 Northeastern states, a rare regional order. Read full article here.

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Prolonged cold blast worsens propane shortage across Midwest.

America’s chronic cold is creating a significant propane shortage across the Midwest — leading Wisconsin to become the latest state to declare an energy emergency in advance of more arctic air blasting eastward this week.

Some 14 million Americans who rely on that type of fuel have been shelling out more and more to heat their homes while the strong demand has outpaced the already-low inventories, energy officials say.

Twenty-four states, including Ohio, Illinois and Alabama, have already declared energy emergencies — which helps to loosen transportation rules so that out-of-state truckers can drive longer hours to make needed propane deliveries. Read full article here.

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Now is a great time to research alternative heating products. Take the time to learn about the products available to you and the changes the EPA will be making to the wood burning industry.

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Buy local (energy included)

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Wed,Nov 09,2011 @ 10:52 AM

The holidays are just around the corner. Do you typically buy your holiday presents from local vendors? Do you care if a product is made in your community, state or country?

Many people do.

Why is it that we often look down on consumer products made overseas, while we don’t think twice about purchasing fossil fuels from across the world?

Local energy is possible.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 57 percent of U.S. oil is imported. Importing foreign oil negatively affects our economy, security and environment.

Shipping in oil from the Middle East is not our only option. Alternative residential heating sources, such as wood burning, exist.

Wood can come from your local community—or even from your own backyard. By fueling with local wood, you’re not only preventing sending money overseas, but also contributing to your local economy. This giving back propels local industry, jobs and economic stimulus.

Local energy can be affordable.

Heating with wood is a wise choice with excellent ROI. However, we realize the upfront costs of switching to wood may be too much for lower income families. That’s why we offer incentives, like cash back and financing plans. By switching to an independent energy source, low-income families may no longer need assistance with purchasing expensive fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, sometimes incentives and financing plans aren’t enough to help families with very low incomes change to wood heating. This is where we need governmental policies in place. Partially funded by the US Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC), the year-long study Transforming Wood Heat in America: A Toolkit of Policy Options explores the existing and potential policy options for incentivizing more efficient and clean burning residential wood heat.

The goal of the study was to discover ways for Americans of all socio-economic groups to use wood heat and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. John Ackerly and Tatiana Butler of the Alliance for Green Heat co-wrote the report.

Wood is the resource that has always been here, always will be here, and is truly sustainable, dependable and local.

Topics: Wood furnaces, wood heat, expensive fossil fuels, alliance for green heat, affordable heat, affordable heating source, U.S. energy administration, residential wood heat, local energy, woodmaster, Flex Fuel, wood master

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