Duluth, MN – With heating fuel prices temporarily on the rise, Como Oil and Propane aims to help customers better understand what is causing the current situation and offers energy saving tips everyone can benefit from.
With this winter being one of the coldest on record, it is easy to understand the current increase in demand for heating fuel however, propane suppliers began seeing higher demand for propane early this fall due to chilly, wet weather. The unseasonably cool temperatures increased the demand for propane used for crop drying all across the country. This, followed by the recent Polar Vortex in January, pushed the demand for propane to record levels.
Nationally, we are hearing news of a propane shortage. While the increased demand for propane has stressed our Country’s propane supply, Como urges customers remain confident given their 68 years of reliable performance. “We are diligently monitoring our propane supply levels every day,” said Joe Stariha, Co-President and Chief Financial Officer of Como. “We have been in this business for 68 years and have a trusted network of over ten different supply points spanning the Midwest."
Often, with increased demand, comes an increase in fuel prices. “People may be assuming heating fuel companies are taking advantage of the severe cold and making more money when prices increase,” said Stariha. “The truth is, while the wholesale price of propane has increased nearly 125%, our margins on propane have not increased and we are doing everything we can to ensure our customers receive the heating fuel they need at a fair price.”
While customers may understand the economics of supply and demand, many are still concerned with how the increased heating fuel prices will affect their household budget.
“This has been a difficult winter for everyone,” said Will Norman, Co-President and Chief Operations Officer of Como. “We want to make sure our customers and the community at-large are aware of a few key energy saving tips they can use to help reduce their individual fuel demand.”
Helpful energy savings tips from Como Oil and Propane:
• Protect against drafts by caulking and weather-stripping around windows, doors and other openings such as ductwork, fans and vents.
• Keep vents and air returns clear of obstructions such as furniture, lint, dust, or pet hair.
• Turn your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees before you leave the house for work each day.
• Check to make sure your furnace filters are clean. Clean filters will increase the efficiency of your furnace.
• Turn down your water heater from the standard 120 degrees to 115 degrees. You can save more than 10% on your water-heating bill.
• Contact your heating fuel supplier to have your heating system inspected, cleaned and tested for efficiency and proper operation. A heating system that runs well is more efficient and will save you money.
• If you are considering replacing your heating system or water heater, buy the most efficient model available. Energy savings over the life of the equipment will easily justify the higher initial cost.
With the recent spike in propane demand, many may be wondering what the future of the propane industry looks like. “The long-term price trend for propane is very stable,” said Stariha. “The domestic supply of natural gas and oil, key ingredients in manufacturing propane, are at very sustainable levels. Spikes in propane demand, like the one we are experiencing, are usually temporary events and the long-term price trend for propane appears to be very reasonable for the foreseeable future.”
Founded in 1946 and celebrating 68 years of delivering a lot more than fuel, Como Oil and Propane is the largest regionally owned oil and propane delivery company. Como serves more than 22,000 industrial, commercial and residential customers through nine local offices in Duluth, Barnum, Two Harbors, Grand Marais, Hibbing and Tower, Minnesota as well as Ashland, Cable and Minong, Wisconsin.
For more information, visit www.comooilandpropane.com.
Como Co-President & CFO