The emergency management director said Friday that Minnesota is prepared to open warming shelters if propane supply problems continue in large portions of the country and cold weather persists in the state.
Minnesota officials have set up a public hotline to help residents deal with propane issues during this recent shortage. The State Emergency Operations Center says the hotline will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The winter’s propane shortage isn’t just affecting homeowners. Animals are being impacted, too. Minnesota is the No. 1 turkey producer in the nation. And every winter, turkey farmers go through thousands of gallons of propane to heat barns and keep livestock warm.
Supply problems in several states where propane is a crucial heating source have prompted governors and other officials to take action against vendors, investigate claims of price gouging and increase aid to low-income customers.
Minnesota agencies are getting ready to respond should any households run out of fuel as propane supplies are stretched during this persistent cold weather.
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Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency because of a severe shortage of propane and other home heating fuels statewide.
The extreme cold isn’t just uncomfortable. It’s becoming expensive, too, especially for homeowners in rural Minnesota who rely on propane to heat their homes. Prices jumped last fall, and with several subzero nights this winter, the cost of propane continues to climb.
Several states in the upper Midwest are dealing with significantly higher prices for propane because of a supply problem caused by a late harvest, persistent very cold temperatures and the temporary shutdown of a major supply pipeline.
This week’s snow has added to an already wet crop, and that means a lot of farmers will rely on grain dryers to dry out their corn. “You can’t dry it, you can’t combine it, and you can’t get it done,” said Peter Leuer of Leuer Farms.
Roger Wolfgram is lucky to have survived a propane explosion in September 2011 at his Wisconsin cabin.
The Minneapolis Fire Department says a late-night blaze at a factory caused several propane cylinders to explode. No one was injured, although one firefighter may have suffered heat exhaustion.