Six association directors from the Midwest share how their members prepared for fall crop drying and the winter heating season. What do they say about the winter heating season, which has already started?
“Through July we were looking at numbers up 25 million gallons over average for summer fill. Every month from March through July we’ve been up by 30 to 35 percent. We look to go into fall strong. Normally, we’re at 15 million gallons delivered per month. Now, we’re at 18 to 20 million delivered per month. Increased storage has helped. I think we’re as prepared as we can be for what’s to come. We spent $100,000 on statewide radio starting in June, talking up summer fill, cap-pricing programs. And marketers have been doing the same things themselves. Some say they are double their past years’ summer-fill totals.” – Roger Leider, Minnesota Propane Association
“WPGA (Wisconsin Propane Gas Association) dealer members report they have had very, very strong statewide summer-fill programs. I was just at Premier Cooperative recently and I talked to one of the drivers who said that he had a very busy summer doing summer fills. So I think it’s fairly consistent across the state that marketers worked really hard at getting the contracts in, pushing summer fills. In fact, I’ve been told, ‘We’re done with summer fills.’ If somebody maybe wants a late summer or fall fill, we can do that at market [price]. But [marketers] are saying they are pretty much done.” – Brandon Scholz, Wisconsin Propane Gas Association
“Members tell me tanks are full. A big corn crop is expected. It all depends on weather.” – Deb Grooms, Iowa Propane Gas Association
“We are ahead of last year. We’re still nervous about being able to pull contracted gallons due to pipeline decisions. There’s definitely more gas in more tanks going into winter, but the heating season has started already. The second or third fills could be problematic if we have a steady dose of bad weather.” – Steve Ahrens, Missouri Propane Gas Association
“I cannot recall seeing as many propane transport trucks up and down the Michigan interstates during the summer as I did this summer. Several MPGA leaders have confirmed significant increases in the number of customers taking advantage of the pre-buy and price-protection programs. Oddly, some Michigan marketers complained that the industry did too much to promote summer fills, as customers overwhelmed some Michigan companies. The Michigan members feel they are as prepared as they can be, but the cold weather is here already – and furnaces clicked on here earlier than they did last year. Like last year, we are anxious to see if another bumper wet grain harvest will consume all of the Midwest’s propane supply.” – Derek Dalling, Michigan Propane Gas Association
“We are certainly ahead of schedule. The corn crop is huge – we are harvesting 16 to 17 [percent] moisture corn. We are already struggling at pipelines and terminals. There is some shutdown for repairs. Some are out of product and there are long lines. I think consumers are in good shape. We started a summer-fill promotion campaign earlier than anyone. Those who do summer fill got lots done, but some of our marketers still don’t offer it.” – John Tibbs, Illinois Propane Gas Association