Low Income Heating Assistance Available

You can also save on your energy bills by setting up an energy budgeting plan. Contact your propane supplier for a variety of options to keep your energy prices low this winter.

Michigan’s winter is far from over; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts snow for Michigan in the upcoming weeks, and residents should continue to experience snowy weather until April according to the 2011 Farmer’s Almanac.

Long, cold winters create a challenge for local residents who cannot afford to pay energy bills during prolonged heating seasons. This year’s extended winter increases the number of people who make illegal adjustments to their propane tanks or allow their tanks to run dry in a desperate attempt to save money. As a result, they are putting themselves and their neighbors at risk for property damage, bodily injury or even death. And with Michigan weather being effected by La Niña and it’s stormy conditions, more and more low-income families will be at risk during the weeks ahead.

Top Four Risky Behaviors of Some Michigan Propane Users:

1. Using rags, tape and epoxy to stop leaks in gas lines.

2. Storing propane cylinders inside barns, homes and garages.

3. Tampering with safety devices so they can overfill portable cylinders.

4. Connecting portable cylinders to home heating systems.

“Propane is a safe source of fuel when handled properly, but human ignorance and carelessness can make propane volatile,” said Michigan Propane Gas Association president Dave Biggs. “Changing a propane tank’s design is unsafe and makes its safety valves inoperable.”

Heating assistance is available to propane users by going to HeatingMyHome.org. In addition to propane safety, this site provides Michigan consumers with information on how to apply for federal, state, and local home heating assistance. Each county has a patchwork of agencies involved in energy assistance including the Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHS) and the Salvation Army to name a few.

The Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs (MAFC) supports MPGA’s efforts to promote the safe handling of propane. “We know people manipulate their tanks or let them run dry, and the SHOP program is trying to discourage tampering.”

For heating assistance, go to HeatingMyHome.org. For more information on propane safety, visit www.UseMichiganPropane.com and click on “Propane Safety” on the home page or call MPGA’s communications office at 517.333.3133, ext. 3.