NPGA reaches out to members, asks for direction

July 2, 2012 By    

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) is sharpening its vision for the future, engaging hundreds of industry members on its mission and ensuring that adequate resources are available to proceed with what its new chairman is calling a main priority.

Vision 2014 was attracting buzz at NPGA’s board of directors meeting last month in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with the industry’s annual lobbying event, Propane Days.

“It started out around the budget, looking at our financial projections, but we really needed to step back and make sure what we’re doing meets membership expectations,” explains Ray Murray, NPGA’s new chairman, of Ray Murray Inc. “What are their expectations and what do we need to accomplish that?”

Murray has played a large part in the initiative, which got off the ground about one year ago with the formation of a task force initially aimed to tackle revenue issues. However, to account for the challenges currently facing the industry, the task force decided that a broader, more strategic approach was necessary. So it stepped back and sought input from the industry on key issues it might face in the coming years. To date, more than 200 people, from the state and national levels, have provided feedback on NPGA’s mission and vision, Murray says.

“The first question we dealt with is whether we should have an association that reflects that our industry is shrinking and should we be cutting back activity? Or should we build an association that is capable of executing a growth strategy for the industry?” Murray says. “The unanimous sense so far is that NPGA needs to have a strong growth agenda and be promoting and advocating for the growth of propane through different ways.”

According to Murray, other topics surfacing in the discussions include ensuring parity for propane with natural gas in programs and policies; renewing alternative fuel tax credits; and lifting the Department of Commerce’s restriction on Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) activities.

Gathering information was the first phase of the process. The second phase involves an analysis and prioritization of that information, which the Executive Committee will do at its August meeting, Murray says. The final phase is implementation of that strategic plan, and a corresponding budget, for 2014.

Teaming with Murray for the 2012-13 term are NPGA officers Gary France, chairman-elect, of France Propane Service; David Lugar, vice chairman, of AmeriGas; and Charlie Ory, treasurer, of Aero Propane. Murray takes over for Carl Hughes of Inergy.

More on the PERC restriction
An NPGA grassroots letter-writing campaign is under way, targeting nine swing states that also have a significant propane presence (those being Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin).

The federal government restricted PERC’s consumer education activities in 2009 amid rising propane prices. However, in comparisons with other fuels, the government only calculated residential propane prices and not the cheaper prices across other segments of our industry before triggering the consumer-protection clause – a method the industry has long argued is flawed.

NPGA sees a window of opportunity in an election year, when our voices might not fall on deaf ears, to initiate change in that calculation. Stay tuned.

Joining our team
As you read our July issue, with a focus on agriculture, you’ll notice a new writer fronting our features. Managing Editor Kevin Yanik joined LP Gas about three months ago from another business-to-business publication.

Kevin has been working the phones and learning quickly about the propane industry. He got to meet some of you at Propane Days, his first event, from which he blogged extensively about some of the key issues facing our industry. You can read one post in the July issue and others on our website.

Contact Kevin with propane industry news and story ideas at

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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