It’s been an expensive winter for propane users.
A steady stream of customers at the MFA Propane outlet in Duncan visibly wince or roll their eyes when the soaring price of propane is brought up.
They are recreational vehicle dwellers, folks living in the country without access to natural gas, itinerant pipeline workers who travel the country in their RVs and dedicated outdoor cooks who barbecue even in the dead of winter.
“They’re more understanding that I thought they’d be,” said MFA bookkeeper Paul McElroy, who takes the orders and pumps the propane at the MFA store on Bois ‘D Arc.
“We hate to charge so much, but no more’s going in our pocket than what we had before.”
Before the shortage, a gallon of propane cost $2.19, she said. Then it shot to $4 a gallon.
In the midst of a bitterly cold winter, customers have little choice but to pay the going rate.
“It’s too cold to go without it,” said Belinda Adams, a Duncan woman who lives in a 38-foot recreational vehicle that is warmed by two electric heaters.
Her 7-gallon propane tank will last about four days, she said.
The high prices and short supply have been blamed on high demand, the nationwide cold weather, increased exports and the shutdown of a pipeline to the midwest in December.
Propane supplies are 44 percent below last year’s level, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The U.S Department of Transportation has granted 31 states, including Oklahoma, so-called "Hours of Service Relief" to allow truckers to drive longer hours to expedite propane deliveries.
Gov. Mary Fallin also instructed the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to expedite financial help to low-income families who can’t afford their propane bills.
In Stephens County, 10 applications for help with propane costs were processed while three were processed in Cotton County, said Rodney Wade, the DHS director in Duncan.
Up to $650 per family can be authorized for propane heating assitance, Wade said.
There are about 400,000 propane consumers in Oklahoma.
It’s been an expensive winter for propane users.
- Local News
Velma teens win roping competition
Two Velma teenagers have claimed victory again this year in a statewide roping competition.
Marlow residents reflect on council member Ridley
A void remains on the Marlow City Council following the death of Councilman Don Ridley.
Velma storm siren problem fixed
A glitch with the storm sirens in Velma has been fixed, but just to be sure a weekly test run of the tornado warning system will sound off at noon Friday, Mayor Shawn Enloe said.
Marlow Chamber sets banquet for Monday
The Marlow Chamber of Commerce will focus on the town’s local businesses when it host its annual banquet Monday at First Baptist Church in Marlow.
Council votes for cheaper, quicker water fix
The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to go with a $650,000 fix to its water infrastructure needs.
The council approved a $43,000 contract with Crafton, Tull, Sparks and Associates to build a 1,000-foot long pipeline that will be capable of putting about 3 million gallons of water per day into Lake Humphreys.
DHS band wins fifth straight Sweepstakes
The Duncan High School band received a rare distinction, winning Sweepstakes for the fifth consecutive year.
Senior Cody Plumley is excited the band won Sweepstakes for its fifth year in a row, making the DHS Band one of the few school bands to do so.
Do the crime, you’ll face a bigger fine
It just got considerably more expensive to be cruel to animals, ride a bike at night without a light, drive over a fire hose and noodle in a city lake.
The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to increase the amount of municipal fines and bonds associated with dozens of misdemeanor offenses.
Sheriffs: State backing out on prisoner promises
State efforts to save time and money by shuffling prisoners more swiftly through the system are riling local sheriffs who are losing money because of the efficiency program.
A change in Department of Corrections practice is landing a “significant hit” on two-thirds of Oklahoma counties, which depend on reimbursements to house state inmates locally, said Ken McNair, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association.
McKinney: DOC move will benefit Stephens County jail
Oklahoma Department of Corrections efforts to move county inmates to DOC prisons has helped the Stephens County Jail dip below capacity.
But Sheriff Wayne McKinney wonders why it took so long to happen when the county jail was overcrowded for several years.
Officer urges volunteers to sign up for mentoring program
A new in-school mentoring program trying to recruit volunteers got a boost on Tuesday night when Duncan Police Officer Julio Alvarez stepped onto a stage to tell a crowd of 50 spectators that a mentor helped him overcome the trauma of childhood victimization.
“Go out and spread the word,” Alvarez said, urging people to sign up as mentors through a program that is being developed by The Well Outreach, Inc.
- More Local News Headlines
- Velma teens win roping competition