Preserving energy choice

October 21, 2021 By    

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), in cooperation with the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), has done a thorough job of outlining the arguments against the electrify-everything movement and in support of preserving energy choice.

Propane industry members should source this information at and get comfortable using it in conversations with employees, customers, policymakers and anyone else who lacks the picture of why energy choice is important and how propane fits into those decisions.

Here are a couple of more tools that the propane industry could use to help preserve energy choice:

Sustainability statement: The propane industry has a great sustainability story to tell. Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. All we need to do is catalog our many current sustainability efforts and showcase them. Consider some of the many sustainability practices already in use by a majority of our industry members:

  • A substantial portion of propane tanks and cylinders in use are manufactured from recycled metals.
  • A majority of the propane installation components (tanks, regulators, gas lines, etc.) are recyclable after their useful life.
  • Paper use and waste in the propane industry have declined greatly due to electronic meter use, paperless billing and digital work platforms.
  • A growing percentage of propane-powered delivery trucks are being used by propane retailers as low-carbon replacements for diesel- and gasoline-powered fleet vehicles.
  • Propane retailers are saving time and energy through the use of tank monitoring technology and advanced scheduling and delivery routing systems.
  • Unlike the natural gas industry, the propane industry operates under a mandatory no-leak regulatory framework. Standard propane installations are not considered safely and properly installed unless there are no leaks anywhere in the system.
  • Propane retailers already are working with their customers to increase their energy efficiency and lower their carbon footprints through the use of a variety of propane-fueled applications.

Propane dependability study: The electrify-everything movement seems to ignore the fact that grid-based electricity is the most undependable source of energy available on a mass scale. The recent massive power outages in Louisiana and other states in the path of Hurricane Ida are just more examples of the unreliability of electricity, whether it is grid-based or sourced from wind or solar installations.

In contrast, propane is one of the most dependable sources of energy available. Consider your customer base and the portion of it that you have on a continuous service schedule that makes you responsible for scheduling and making deliveries so there are no interruptions of propane supply. What percentage of that customer group has run out of gas unexpectedly in the past year? If you have the right systems, equipment and employees in place, your response should be that none of your customers has had an unexpected interruption of service. Simply put, customers who put their dependability of service in your hands do not run out of propane.

It would be easy for you to perform your own internal study of the dependability of your propane service and use the results as a talking point with propane prospects and other energy decision-makers. Also include the availability of propane standby generators in that conversation to make propane an even more logical and dependable energy choice.

Even more useful would be a larger, statistically relevant study of the dependability of propane service provided by propane retailers across the industry, and a reference to the shortcomings of electricity.

It is up to PERC or NPGA to decide to move forward with creating these tools, using internal resources or an outside consultant. Let’s hope that happens. In the meantime, use the many tools we have now to preserve energy choice. After all, propane is “Energy for Everyone.”

Tom Jaenicke is vice president of propane marketing services for Warm Thoughts Communications. He can be reached at or 810-252-7855.

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