Disaster Emergency Declared as Propane Shortage Threatens to Impact Rural Coloradans
CENTENNIAL, COLORADO— December 25, 2018
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency in the state Monday morning due to a propane supply shortage. Around 33,000 propane customers who rely on the gas for heat could be impacted by the shortage, according to a statement from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Propane production issues, anticipated severe weather conditions, and an ongoing propane supply shortage prompted the governor to issue a verbal executive order, the statement read.
The agency said ongoing production issues at Colorado propane facilities during December caused the propane industry to seek supplies outside of the state, significantly increasing the amount of time needed to transport propane used for winter heating fuel.
Hickenlooper issued a verbal executive order just after 11 a.m. on December 24, 2018 due to propane production issues, anticipated severe weather conditions and an ongoing propane supply shortage. The executive order applies to drivers who are primarily working on this emergency. The executive order suspends the hours-of-service regulations that normally prevent in-state drivers from transporting propane winter heating fuel until Jan. 8.
State agencies, including the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Colorado Energy Office, and the Colorado State Patrol began regular coordination, both internally and with the Colorado and New Mexico Propane Gas Associations on December 18 to evaluate the extent and possible impacts of the shortage. As a result of this coordination, participating agencies concluded that the shortage did, in fact, present a clear risk to populations dependent on propane for heating.
20 Colorado Counties are impacted by a propane supply shortage, including El Paso, Elbert, Pueblo, Huerfano, Costilla, Conejos, Alamosa, Saguache, Custer, Fremont, Mineral, Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores, San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose, Delta and Mesa, according to Agency’s Twitter.
Counties impacted include: El Paso, Elbert, Pueblo,— CO - Emergency Mgmt (@COEmergency) December 24, 2018
Huerfano, Costilla, Conejos, Alamosa, Saguache,
Custer, Fremont, Mineral, Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma,
Dolores, San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose, Delta and Mesa
The propane industry attempted to address the issue with rationing and other means, however propane shortages continue. Further, expected extreme winter weather over the coming weeks will increase demand for propane used as a winter heating fuel. The State of Oklahoma has issued a similar order to address shortages within that state. The commercial vehicle industry is impeded from continuing statewide propane fuel delivery operations for winter heating purposes. As a result, many Coloradans are left without a way to heat their homes.
Moreover, a winter storm system arriving midweek is expected to hit the rural parts of Colorado the hardest; portions of the eastern Plains could receive more than a foot of snow.