Supply issues affecting propane prices

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:00 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:45 AM EDT
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BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. (WCAX) - The cost of propane is up which has some feeling the pinch and there is concern about potential supply issues as we head into the cold months.

“We do all our cooking with it, stove, grill, everything,” said deli owner Brent Lisai.

The fries are cooking at Little Lisai’s Corner Deli in Bellows Falls. The business uses about $400 to $500 worth of propane a month. It’s a significant expense that experts say is 25-30% higher than last year’s propane costs.

“Right now we are just going to ride the storm. We aren’t going to raise the prices or anything. We are just going to wait and it will come down,” Lisai said.

It’s actually the storms earlier this year in the south that are part of the problem. Bad weather contributed to a nationwide supply shortage which is driving up prices.

“Ice storm in Texas where it shut down the refineries down there for about three weeks. And then we had the hurricanes that went through and again there are multiple refineries down there,” said Casey Cota, owner of Cota & Cota.

About 16% of households in Vermont use propane as their primary heating source. That’s about 42,000 homes. Experts say there will be enough propane in the Northeast to fill tanks this winter but they also say it’s important to plan ahead and budget a little bit more for heating costs.

“Knowing your provider, having a good relationship with them. That is really key that you are going to be taken care of for the winter,” Cota said.

Back at the deli, the food keeps coming. Propane costs are just one concern.

“We are having trouble getting help here. That’s even worse. More of a problem than the propane,” Lisai said.

Experts say they should have a better idea of where the supply is at around January and they say at that time, prices should begin to start coming down a bit.

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