live video

Charlottesville mayor makes “major announcement” about Robert E. Lee statue

Propane crisis continues as residents complain to state hotlines

Ohio residents continued to call state hotlines this week with complaints that they are running out of propane heating fuel or suspicions that they are victims of price-gouging.

As of late Tuesday, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office had received 389 calls from mostly rural residents who depend on the fuel to heat their homes and outbuildings. The office has an ongoing price-gouging investigation underway.

Among those who called is Paul West, who lives with his wife and son on a 700-acre farm near Greenville in Darke County on the Indiana/Ohio state line. He said that his tank was down to 20 percent full on Monday. His 150-year-old farmhouse is only heated to 62 degrees, he said, but he feared he’d run out of fuel by today (Wednesday).

His supplier told him he couldn’t be refilled for two weeks. Around the time a news article appeared online on the Dayton Daily News website on Monday afternoon, his supplier called to say he was in the neighborhood and could provide a refill.

West got his 150-gallon refill Tuesday. “That should last us two weeks unless we get a cold spell,” he said.

Consumers who suspect price gouging or other unfair business practices regarding propane should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-282-0515. The office is asking consumers to provide as much documentation as they can.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has also set up a hotline at (614) 799-3897 that’s operated from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Propane supplies have been severely constrained largely because of unusual cold spells in January that pushed temperatures well below zero degrees. Most propane arrives in Ohio by truck. Residents who need the fuel are typically in rural areas not served by natural gas lines. Suppliers have been short-filling tanks to help spread the available supply around.

Outages have been reported throughout the state including in Montgomery, Portage, Fairfield, Crawford, Lorain, Brown, Logan, Darke and Union counties.

“It’s still a big issue,” Holly Karg, PUCO spokeswoman, said. “It is slowly improving every day as we get customers connected with suppliers. Call volume is dwindling but we are not out of this.”

At the Ohio Development Services Agency, spending to assist low-income residents pay for propane and bottle gas has gone up $1 million this year.

So far this season, 17,515 households were assisted in purchasing propane or bottle gas at a cost of $11.4 million. During last year’s program from Nov. 1, 2012 until Feb. 10, 2013, 17,416 households were assisted with propane and bottle gas expenses at a cost of $10.4 million.

The price of propane in Ohio was last reported at around $3.90 a gallon, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

For more information on the state’s Winter Crisis Program and provider local agencies, telephone (800) 282-0880 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hearing-impaired with a telecommunication device should call (800) 686-1557.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Speedway, major Clark County employer, raises $2.5M at charity event
Speedway, major Clark County employer, raises $2.5M at charity event

Speedway, one of Clark County’s biggest employers, raised almost $2.5 million for charity during its annual Speedway Miracle Tournament at the NCR Country Club. MORE: Enon-based Speedway hits near record earnings of $239M The money raised will benefit the Children’s Miracle Hospital Network. The Enon-based company...
2 new stores to open in heart of Oakwood next week
2 new stores to open in heart of Oakwood next week

Two new stores will open on Far Hills Avenue in Oakwood next week. The Oakwood Candy Shoppe will celebrate its grand opening on Aug. 22 at 2541 Far Hills Ave. in Oakwood. The store will open next to the Avalon Hair & Color Studio. Owner Katherine Wright, a Kettering resident, said the candy shop will have old-fashioned candy, special sodas and sparkling...
Ohio’s jobless rate grows
Ohio’s jobless rate grows

Ohio’s unemployment rate edged up last month to 5.2 percent, up from 5 percent in June, as the number of unemployed people outpaced the number of people who won new jobs. In its monthly report released Friday, the state said its non-agricultural wage and salary employment rose 1,600 over the month, from a revised 5,536,500 in June to 5,538,100...
Workplace incivility, aggression impacts more than half of US workers
Workplace incivility, aggression impacts more than half of US workers

What’s causing so much unhappiness at work for more than half of American workers? Incivility in the workplace, according to a new study. Nearly 55 percent of workers say they’ve faced “unpleasant or potentially hazardous” conditions at work, according to a new study by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University...
Xenia Twp. trustees approve Kil-Kare rezoning request 
Xenia Twp. trustees approve Kil-Kare rezoning request 

UPDATE @ 9:26 p.m.:  Xenia Twp. trustees have voted to allow a rezoning request for land near Kil-Kare Speedway and Drag Strip. The vote was 2-1.  Trustee Susan Spradin was the dissenting vote.  David Reed, Dayton attorney for Nutter Enterprises, which opposed the zoning change, said he and his client are determining their next steps...
More Stories