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WLPGA joins NPGA, PERC for COVID-19 webinar

April 24, 2020 By    

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) held their second COVID-19 Q&A webinar to share information and resources for companies during the pandemic. This time they welcomed the World LPG Association (WLPGA). Here’s what caught our attention during the 60-minute discussion.

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Photo: fpm/E+/Getty Images

  • The discussion had an overall positive tone, with PERC President and CEO Tucker Perkins even looking ahead to propane’s role in a post-pandemic environment. For PERC, that means an increased emphasis on sharing the benefits of “clean American energy,” Perkins says. “Americans are going to be looking for clean solutions. The beauty is we sell a clean solution.”
  • James Rockall, CEO and managing director of the WLPGA, joined the call from France, where he shared some of the strict lockdown measures in place. Residents are allowed to leave their homes once a day for one hour, he says, and they must complete a form for police to check. Rockall remained upbeat. “If we support each other, together we will emerge stronger from this crisis,” he says. Residential propane demand has held up well during the pandemic and, in some cases, has surged due to stay-at-home orders, Rockall says. “Businesses are waiting to come back, and when they do the volumes are going to come back,” he adds about propane’s use in the commercial and industrial sectors. Like Perkins, Rockall is emphasizing LPG’s role in a “green recovery” from COVID-19.
  • NPGA provided updates on the legislative and regulatory side. Congress was moving closer to approving over $300 billion more for the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program to help small businesses, explains Michael Baker, director of legislative affairs at NPGA. (On April 23, it finalized the funding as part of a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill.) Another popular program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), had received $900 million in emergency contingency funding in the federal government’s CARES Act stimulus package March 27. Baker says NPGA is now working to ensure LIHEAP is adequately funded for fiscal year 2021. Sarah Reboli, deputy counsel of regulatory affairs, addressed changes to current regulatory requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The OSHA topics concern enforcement guidance for recording cases of COVID-19, an enforcement response plan for handling workplace complaints and employers’ good-faith efforts to comply with training requirements. The CDC update references safety practices for critical infrastructure workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Reboli directed industry members to the “marketer’s guide” documents on NPGA’s member dashboard for more information.
  • The unprecedented oil price crash into negative territory at West Texas Intermediate on April 20 caught the attention of the entire energy industry. A decline in demand for petroleum products has sent a shock wave through markets. Some in the propane industry are wondering what impact production cuts might have on propane supply. NPGA President and CEO Steve Kaminski says NPGA is beginning those discussions around propane supply and logistics. “As we move from the health care phase of this crisis to the economic phase of this crisis, we are hearing initial concerns about supply, with respect to oil prices and a lack of demand and how that could affect the propane industry,” he says.

*Featured image: Picture/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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About the Author:

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

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