HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – At a press conference in Huntsville on Thursday, Governor Bentley said he has declared a state of emergency over statewide propane shortage.
The emergency declaration enables the Governor to invoke various emergency preparedness measures, including Alabama’s price gouging law. It will also suspend the rules and regulations regarding the purchase and sale of propane gas directed by the propane gas industry, and allow propane tank owners to purchase propane from any company that sells it.
To help with the supply and demand of propane gas, the State of Emergency will lift the federal transportation motor carrier laws and allow greater flexibility in the delivery to homes, schools and businesses.
Bentley says he will keep it in place as long as necessary.
Locally, that shortage is making some school boards find another route to heat schools.
The DeKalb County Board of Education received a letter from its propane supplier, UPG Gas, on Wednesday stating that due to widespread supply and distribution problems affecting the entire propane industry, they had no choice but to declare what they called a force majeure.
Essentially, what the two paragraphed letter said was DeKalb County Schools, along with other commercial customers, wouldn’t be getting gas from the company for at least two weeks.
That company is one of the largest in suppliers in the state, and while there isn’t a shortage of propane, there is a shortage of means of distribution to get it to the customers.
However, UPG Gas is allowing Dekalb County Schools out of their contract, in order to find another provider.
School board officials say in the meantime they have been able to reach out to other gas companies and fill the demand that way, but this change is going to cost them more money that will come out of projects like construction.
One DeKalb County farmer told WHNT if he doesn’t get the propane needed to keep his chickens alive, he will lose $45,000.
On the other side of the Sand Mountain area Marshall County EMA is working to find out if the levels of propane gas in that county are enough for the demand. “We’ve contacted our USDA representative who is in contact with our poultry growers,” says Marshall County EMA director Anita McBurnett, “Since they use primarily propane in maintaining their poultry houses and right now there are no issues there.”
McBurnett says that seems to be true for all of Marshall County by Friday afternoon. “We’ve contacted our propane suppliers in Marshall county and all are at a green status.”
She says EMA crews will continue to monitor the situation.