LPG, electricity partner well

February 27, 2020 By    

The national energy grid is in tattered shape in most parts of the country, and the electrification movement is only going to make matters worse for electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives.

Photo Courtesy of the propane education & research council

Propane standby generators are a great start in a propane partnership with electricity, but the conversation shouldn’t end there. Photo courtesy of Propane Education & Research Council

Parts of the network transmission lines are more than 70 years old; many power transformers are more than 25 years old; and the average age of power plants is more than 30 years old. Proper maintenance of the energy grid is an ongoing issue with such antiquated equipment.

Recently, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the entire energy infrastructure a barely passing grade of D+. A new, integrated national energy grid is estimated to cost almost $5 trillion, a solution that won’t happen any time soon.

The old energy grid and the shortcomings of renewable electricity make dependability a big issue for electricity providers. Ask anyone in the affected areas of California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) public utility how they feel about the dependability of electricity, where more than 700,000 customers are facing planned shutdowns to mitigate forest fire dangers from PG&E’s failing equipment. In a play on the PG&E acronym, California propane marketers are shouting the battle cry “Propane Goes Everywhere.”

And it isn’t just California. The website poweroutage.us offers a live look at how many customers are experiencing power outages across the country. This website tracks about 87 percent of all electricity customers in the United States and is the most complete source of power outage information currently available.

Compare your propane delivery capabilities and dependability factors with those of electricity providers:

  • First of all, we have more propane supply being produced in this country than at any time in our history. There is so much supply that we are exporting much more propane than we are using.
  • The propane industry’s commitment to safety and training is a positive factor in keeping our entire propane supply and delivery chain in updated, safe and dependable operating condition.
  • Technology has taken a firm hold on the propane retailer’s business. Sophisticated tank monitoring equipment and routing and scheduling software are making run-outs for scheduled delivery customers a thing of the past. An unplanned propane run-out rarely, if ever, happens for propane consumers who put deliveries in the hands of their propane providers. Consumers can’t say that about their electric service, no matter where they live and work.

When you communicate with propane customers and prospects, you should include dependability in your conversation. With electricity such an energy aggressor these days, you need to play offense and point out the weaknesses of an electric-only world versus a propane partnership with electricity.

And this isn’t just about selling propane standby generators, although that is a great start in the dependability conversation. Propane standby generators start to make sense when you size generators so that just a small amount of electricity is needed for spark ignition on propane appliances used for space heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying.

Is one of those planned (or unplanned) electric shutdowns heading your customers’ way? They can stay safe and comfortable with propane.

Propane is the only readily accessible and dependable energy source that gives consumers the freedom and right to choose how and where they want to live, work and play.

Be propane proud.

Tom Jaenicke is vice president of propane marketing services for Warm Thoughts Communications. He can be reached at tjaenicke@warmthoughts.com.

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