Propane council introduces new leaders, proposes 2014 budget

July 25, 2013 By    

Paula Wilson, director of marketing at AmeriGas, became the first woman to chair the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) when she accepted the gavel from former Chairman Joe Armentano of Paraco Gas at its meeting earlier this month in New York.

Wilson says addressing the U.S. Department of Commerce’s four-year-long restriction of PERC consumer education activities is the council’s top priority. She says the industry must create demand for the large amounts of U.S. supply coming online and PERC must drive industry engagement through its programs and products.

Under its new leadership, the council proposed a $39.6 million budget for 2014, for industry and public comment. The budget amount, which would increase nearly $4 million from 2013, designates $24 million to operating programs, with 57 percent going toward research and development.

The 2014 budget numbers are based on an assessment rate of four-tenths of a cent per gallon of odorized propane, generating $33.2 million in revenue for the council.

In addition to Wilson, PERC’s new executive committee includes Eric Benson, vice chairman-marketers, of J.S. West & Co.; Michael Barnes, vice chairman-producers, of BP Energy Co.; Robert Barry, treasurer, of Bergquist; and Thomas Van Buren, secretary, of Ferrell North America. The officers will serve one-year terms.

PERC also announced the following new members from the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and the Gas Processors Association (GPA). NPGA appointed in June: Eugene Bissell, public member, the former president and CEO of AmeriGas; Robert Chalmers, JP Energy Partners; Andrew Combs, CHS Inc.; and Richard Williams, Suburban Propane Partners. GPA appointed Troy Andrews of Aux Sable Midstream and Steven Breckon of Lone Star NGL.

The council approved the following funding requests, with the amount and principal contractor in parenthesis where applicable:

■ $900,000 to build and test a propane-fueled heat pump air conditioner that is suitable for residential and light commercial applications. Southwest Gas Corp. will test three units in a lab and then install and test them in the field. The total project cost is $6 million.

■ $355,705 for an 8.0-liter product launch support project, to support and accelerate the launch and adoption of the new Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. S2G and the Thomas Built Bus Corp. Saf-T-Liner C2 Type C school bus. The project includes a plan for 10 demonstration buses.

■ $315,510 for the consolidation of five PERC external audience websites into two (BGT Partners).

■ $237,900 for professional and support services. PERC wants to ensure technical accuracy, provide technical knowledge and expertise and implementation support of new products and market opportunities.

■ $157,500 for an Ilios high efficiency water heater demonstration and study. Demos of the 500,000-Btu-per-hour systems will take place at four sites.

■ $100,000 for a Roush CleanTech demonstrator loaner vehicle program. Roush will expand, manage and promote the program to key fleet contacts, propane marketers and state propane association directors.

■ $98,000 for the 2013 Propane Emergencies Program, covering three to four additional Industry Responder Conferences, textbooks and safety-related collateral (Propane Training Services).

■ $87,905 for Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) updates and help desk support (Dashe & Thomson).

■ $35,400 for the development of 50 documents on various safety issues that can be used in marketer meetings and talks (Logica3).

■ $31,500 for the development of an electronic document, part of a propane autogas vehicle operators brochure, to help new users understand the fuel, safety features and basic operation of a propane autogas vehicle (Logica3).

Since April, PERC has approved 57 state rebate requests totaling just over $1 million, with eight programs, including requests for $166,102, from the PERC Partnership with States program.

The council will next meet Oct. 9-10 in Portland, Ore.

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