So what happens if the local propane supply drops low enough that businesses such as the co-op aren’t able to service all of their customers?
“It’s a thought I don’t even want to think about,” Clayton said. “Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Should it happen, Clayton said propane users will just have to find alternative sources of heat, such as electric heaters or wood-burning furnaces, until the propane supply can be replenished.
“But we’re a supply company, and our goal is to keep each and every propane customer we have supplied with propane,” Clayton said. “It may not be as much as they like, but so far we’ve been able to do that. But it definitely hasn’t been easy.”
A call to the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. Friday also revealed higher than average energy usage by its customers this January. Included in that increased usage is natural gas, which is also experiencing some shortages across the country due to ongoing winter weather events, such as the recent polar vortex that blanketed much of the country in crippling cold.
“With recent temperatures as low as they’ve been, we definitely expect higher than average usage this month,” said Eddie Melton, NIPSCO manager of corporate citizenship.
However, according to Melton, NIPSCO at least is not currently in any danger of a natural gas shortage.
“We always monitor that,” Melton said, “and we have no concerns about our supply at this time.”