While getting ready for winter might be the last thing on Upper Peninsula residents’ minds on sunny summer days, it’s never too early to start thinking about heating needs for the coming winter.
Because propane became a scarce commodity during the most recent heating season, Governor Snyder and numerous state agencies are working to help prevent a similar problem this year. The main message they have for up to 25 percent of households in some areas of the U.P. who use propane is to start getting ready early.
“Customers can do their homework and have a list of questions prepared to ask potential propane providers,” said Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John Quackenbush. “The Michigan Public Service Commission has a consumer tips sheet that helps guide what questions could be asked. Then, establish a relationship with a propane provider, get an early fill, lock in a price, and particularly, look into a budget payment plan that will spread the payments out over a period of time.”
Groups like the Michigan Public Service Commission have been coordinating efforts with agencies like MDOT and the State Police to be ready to assist customers if the need arises.
“We were directed to collaborate by Governor Snyder, and we did that last season, and we’ve continued to meet during the summer to make plans for this coming season, and I think we’ll be in a very good shape to help the citizens of Michigan through this next heating season,” Quackenbush added.
To further help with propane preparedness, the Michigan Energy Assistance Program will begin accepting applications on October 1st this year, a month earlier than usual. Anyone in need of such assistance is being asked to call 211 or visit michigan.gov/heatingassistance.
While propane prices aren’t regulated under Michigan law like those of natural gas or electrical services, the Public Service Commission will be monitoring supplies and making statewide average residential prices available at michigan.gov/propane. Consumer tips and other details about state-related propane programs will be available there as well.