EMA Officials: “Propane Shortage Could Affect More Than Just Those Who Use It”

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) — DeKalb County Emergency Management officials say the propane shortage is hitting the county hard, and say eventually because the shortage is so widespread it could affect more than just those who use propane gas.

“We were more affected because we have more farmers relying on propane, and a lot of areas have natural gas but unfortunately we’re so rural it will take years before natural gas will ever get to those areas,” DeKalb County Emergency Management Director Anthony Clifton says.

Clifton says bottom line, natural gas is just not that accessible to get out to the entirety of DeKalb County. “The cost profit ratio is just not there for the natural gas to run a pipe line,” Clifton says, “It’s very expensive, particularly on Lookout Mountain, Sand Mountain, with that hard rock, it’s very expensive to run a pipeline.”

Clifton says many business in DeKalb County rely on propane for their livelihood, and most of those are poultry farmers. With the severe winter weather the Tennessee Valley saw last week propane is essential in keeping those chickens alive.

Clifton says because the shortage is so widespread, it could eventually hurt a lot more people down the road than it is right now. “A lot of folks say ‘well it’s just a chicken grower issue’.  It’s not. It’s going to have an affect right down the food chain. In other words we’re going to see an increase in prices sooner or later. It’s going to affect every consumer out there.”

The reason? Clifton says it’s simple supply and demand.”The price of their food is going to rise, which is going to cause a demand for other food,” Clifton says, “If you swap from chicken to beef it’s going to cause that to rise. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Clifton says right now county agencies are working with the companies the poultry farmers grow for to determine those farmers who are most critical, and work to get enough propane so they can go from day-to-day business.

Currently the county is stable, but Clifton says the long hours of working to keep it that way won’t end soon. “This is not something that’s going to end until warm weather, to be honest,” Clifton says.

DeKalb County Schools are also affected by the propane shortage. Earlier last week the school board received a letter from UPG Gas informing them they would not be getting gas from that company for at least two weeks.  The EMA says they are working to ensure the schools that use gas within the system have enough to keep kids in class during the shortage.

Marshall County Economic Development President Matt Arnold says the gas shortage that is affecting the poultry farmers in DeKalb County  will also directly affect the economy in other counties, including Marshall. 


  • mamac

    Yes, but people that live near the Alabama, Georgia,Tennessee line the state of emergency Gov.Bentley issued states that people using propane can get it from ANY COMPANY..ANY WHERE ..And NO PRICE gouging cause any company caught price gouging WILL BE PROSECUTED …People is just BLOWING THIS OUT OF PROPORTION .. I saw one person list their gas company went form $1.69 to $ 3.89 that is price gouging..And the companies that is doing this to their costumers should be a shamed..But to everyone that has propane and your company has went up on prices call Gov.Bentley’s office and let them know what the gas company is doing .And Gov. Bentley said their office will prosecuted…

    • Lexis Smith

      The gas companies is price gouging. Me an my neighbor use propane to heat but use different companies. I use Surburban which use to be Dowdle , four weeks ago I ordered 100 gallons of gas and it was $ 423.98 I called last week to order another 100 gallons and they told me it was going to be $ 525. and some odd cents. My neighbor uses Clarks Gas and within 3 weeks her bill for 100 gallons went up $100.00. For real now, this is PRICE GOUGING. NO ONE CAN NOT AFFORD THESE PRICES and then the propane folks will not have to worry about shortages.

      • Wake Up

        It is not price gouging. This is good old American supply and demand capitalism.

        In capitalism prices for scarcities go up, and they go down when things are in plenty of supply. When the government steps in and says that a price for a commodity can not go over a certain price (price control) it is socialism (government interference in the free-market) no matter what excuse the government uses to do so!

  • Skillpot

    Remember, each time we see, and hear comments from Alabama government officials about price gouging, we never see any results of any actions in the courts! Did I miss the point? Show me!

  • Ed Worley, Jr.

    What goes around, comes around. WHNT has broadcast more than a dozen stories recently on bad things happening without enough propane, and OK, but, why does WHNT not unleash your vaunted Investigative team and uncover the causes of the shortage?
    . Odds are that the shortage is caused by recent changes in U. S. Government policies and actions, plus some weather and accident problems a month or so ago. Too many agencies have the power to meddle with our lives. Propane deliveries are greatly slowed by regulations and requirements of the Dept. of Homeland Security, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration), Federal Highway Admin., Pipeline Safety, and a host of others. The propane retailers are finding that the distributors cannot obtain enough propane from the pipeline companies. Propane is a by-product principally of the processing of natural gas from wells drilled in the US (70% of our supplies, in recent years) and most of the rest is delivered from Canada. We need the Keystone XL pipeline and others to route the propane and the natural gas to the distributors whose trucks then fan it out to the retailers and to the large farm users. Our farming families are being badly injured by the shortage of tansportation from the wellhead through the various means to the retail customer. And so the costs for food (chickens, etc.) are going up in the grocery stores. What goes around, comes around. Get with it, WHNT, Just reporting the symptoms will not bring us a cure! Investigate, and inform us the people!

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