MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency in response to the propane shortage impacting Wisconsin residents ahead of the severely cold temperatures predicted for the coming week. The governor has directed all state agencies to be on alert and ready to assist as needed.
"The health and safety of our citizens is our number one priority, and this declaration gives us the necessary resources to protect the residents of Wisconsin," Governor Walker said. "Since last fall, we have taken action to help alleviate the impact the propane shortage is having on our state. I will do everything I can within my power to help our friends and loved ones relying on propane to heat their homes or businesses during this challenging situation."
As many as 250,000 Wisconsin residents rely on propane to heat their homes and businesses. A number of factors are to blame for the current shortage, including this winter's unusually cold temperatures and the temporary closure of a major pipeline that delivers propane to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
Propane transport drivers will be allowed to log additional hours to transport more propane and a weigh limit relief order is now in place allowing for more propane to be carried in each trip.
A Midwest regional declaration of emergency was issued on January 19.
Officials recommend people who use propane contact their vendor when the tank reaches 30 percent full to ensure the vendor will be able to supply more before it runs out. The Department of Administration's Division of Energy Services says the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program can help some low-income users, and has issued information to those who qualify.
The Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund will temporarily allow an increase in income limits for propane households too. The organization welcomes donations for those who want to help residents in need.
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