Gov. Walker declares propane shortage a state of emergency - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Walker declares propane shortage a state of emergency

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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.

If you're in need of assistance:

  1. Call the non-emergency number of your local sheriff's department if you need the location of a local warming shelter or other local resources.  As always, call 911 for an emergency.
  2. Check on friends, neighbors. and loved ones to ensure everyone has a warm place to stay. 
  3. Call toll-free1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947) for information about where you can purchase propane in your area, or to apply for assistance towards your propane heating bill.  
  4. If you go to a local warming shelter, turn off the water in your home and drain your pipes to ensure they pipes do not freeze in your absence.  If you are hesitant to use a shelter because you are afraid to leave a pet behind, please call your local warming shelter/human services agency as many warming shelters also offer pet shelter when an individual or family utilizes the shelter.
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