Propane fuel price increases significantly CANDICE VETTER

The situation is similar across Eastern Ontario. The jump occurred approximately two weeks after suppliers suggested that customers conserve their propane due to a shortage of the Canadian product. If the price of gasoline increased by a similar amount, gasoline would go from $1.25 per litre to $2.03. The National Energy Board, an arm of the

federal government, makes the decision of how much propane to hold in reserve for Canadians. In 2012, about 60 per cent of the Canadian propane reserve was allowed by the NEB to be sold to the U.S., reducing in- ventory by one-third of last year’s. The NEB website states the decision was based on a predicted moderate winter. However, this winter started early across the country and much of the continent. The situation has been compounded by rail and pipeline disasters and the southern Ontario

ice storm, all of which interrupted distribu- tion. Local suppliers contacted by the Reflet- News stated they are trying to keep cus- tomers warm. Some are only partially filling tanks to be able to spread the fuel around. Several are not taking new customers at this time. In rural Canada, propane is widely used as a heating fuel in areas that do not have natural gas lines. It is alternative to oil, and until recently, was also less expensive.

The price of propane, which sold for 66 cents per litre last fall, has increased sig- nificantly in January, ranging from $1.05 to $1.06 per litre.

Farmers want a choice on heating fuels

L’ORIGNAL | Farmers in Prescott-Russell would like to have options when it comes to using either propane or natural gas as part of the fuel supply for their operations. The United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) accepted a recommen- dation from the Agricultural Advisory Committee of Prescott-Russell (AAC) for a future revision to the counties’ economic development plan for the region. Right now, most farms in Prescott-Russell are limited to propane as an alterna- tive to oil or electricity for heating outbuildings and barns and coops for live- stock. Any delays in propane deliveries to refill the on-site storage tanks can cre- ate problems for a farm operation. The UCPR’s economic development and tourism department will prepare an amendment to the plan to have natural gas delivery to rural areas added as part of the plan’s future goal priorities. The counties council and administration will also research methods to apply political pressure to make natural gas delivery to rural areas a reality.

Photo Candice Vetter

Propane heating fuel costs have doubled since last year, including an increase of 63 per cent since autumn. The current price in Eastern Ontario ranges from $1.03 per litre to $1.06, up from 66 cents in October and 56 cents one year ago.

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