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NPGA meetings highlight hiring, energy competition

November 13, 2016 By    
Author: Complete Interior Design / photo on flickr

Author: Complete Interior Design / photo on flickr

National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) board and committee meetings often lead me to scribble at length about the latest industry happenings, issues and concerns. These meetings really offer perspective on what the industry’s facing statewide and across the country.

The fall meeting took us to Asheville, North Carolina, where employee-hiring challenges, energy threats and competition, and the onset of winter dominated meeting topics.

As I decipher the handwriting in my notebook, here’s what we learned:

■ An industry meeting isn’t held without the mention of driver shortages and employee-hiring issues. NPGA is taking notice, announcing the formation of a workforce development task force, which could help formulate best practices for states. One idea is for the propane industry to establish relationships with veteran organizations and community colleges – sources that could help bring people into the propane industry and keep them.

■ Zero net energy has the industry’s attention in California, but propane leaders say legislation is also in the works in other states. According to the New Buildings Institute, zero net energy buildings are new construction or retrofit projects that consume only as much energy as they produce from clean, renewable sources.

“It’s a threat or a tremendous opportunity,” says NPGA Chairman Stuart Weidie of Blossman Gas. “We don’t know yet.”

■ Weidie has a way of putting propane industry issues into perspective. He did so on several occasions in Asheville. Subsidized natural gas expansion threats have been a long-running battle for the propane industry, but Weidie also called attention to the serious threats from electricity, solar and geothermal. He says the propane industry must be willing to engage those who incentivize select energy sources and create an unfair playing field.

“We need to broaden our scope and think about the fight against other energy sources, as well,” he adds.

■ Winter is here, and with it comes discussions about supply security. Even with U.S. propane inventory reaching 104 million barrels to enter the heating season, industry leaders are staying vigilant. They haven’t forgotten the supply and distribution challenges of 2013-14.

As ThompsonGas’ George Koloroutis, chairman of the NPGA Propane Supply and Logistics Committee, says, “Our memories are good enough to remember how quickly it could change.”

The committee set forth to develop materials that will help the industry and policymakers respond to any supply-related disruptions in the coming months. NPGA says it’s reconstituting the supply and infrastructure task force to transmit data in a timely manner. Also, a forthcoming white paper will detail existing state and federal legal authorities that could help the industry in a tight-supply situation.

Speaking of propane supply, you can access our expanded Suppliers Guide, which details propane suppliers and key contacts. It’s a valuable resource that can be used throughout the upcoming year as you maintain a firm handle on your supply situation.

■ Featured at the marketer and state/district directors meeting in Asheville was a guest speaker who led a presentation on climatism – the belief that humans cause global warming.

Steve Goreham, author of “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism,” asks – in an age of low-cost energy, with energy driving global prosperity – when did the use of energy and hydrocarbons become bad?

He cited misconceptions about energy: It leads to a polluted world, to climate destruction and resource depletion. And he left the group to ponder his takeaways: Climate change is natural and energy is not a villain.

Goreham didn’t pull any punches in front of marketers, telling them, “Whether you like it or not, everyone here is in a war on hydrocarbons.”

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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