Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2015

Senators Push for Propane Supply Safeguards

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration with Thomson Reuters data.

Midwestern senators introduced a bill Thursday intended to avoid a repeat of the heating situation this bitter cold winter when propane supplies dwindled and prices skyrocketed.

The bill – sponsored by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members Tammy Balwin, D-Wis., Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. – would establish the Energy secretary as the emergency coordinator in a shortage, increase reporting of supplies and give a clearer understanding of price fluctuations, according to a summary.

Exports of propane and repurposing of pipelines also contributed to the shortage this winter, the Energy Information Administration has said.

“We would greatly welcome better storage information, more transparency,” Joe Cordill, president of Cordill Propane Service told the committee in May, as we reported on CQ.com.  Cordill said market data from the Energy Information Agency includes regional supplies but is limited because it does not show what amounts have been contracted and what supply is available for purchase. “Any additional information that we could get as marketers would be greatly appreciated,” he said.

Unlike natural gas, supplies of propane have rebounded to near the top of the five-year range.

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