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MPSC urges propane customers to shop around now to lock in supply for home heating season
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 29, 2021
The Michigan Public Service Commission today urged Michigan propane customers to explore locking in supplies now for propane to heat their homes this winter.
Shopping now helps ensure they'll have the propane they need as the as the weather gets colder and demand increases. The MPSC urges Michigan propane users to shop around for the best deals, making sure to research options, ask questions about contracts and get terms in writing.
Before you begin shopping for propane, here are things to consider:
- Providers offer budget plans, pre-pay and fixed-price plans that can save consumers on costs compared to market prices later in the season. Knowing the size of your propane tank and your average propane use can help you avoid not buying enough or buying too much. Customers also should understand prices may increase after the prepaid allotment is used up.
- Be sure to understand possible fees including installation, service, pickup or disconnect, lease or equipment rental and minimum usage requirements, and ask for details before you sign a contract because the additional fees may increase out-of-pocket costs.
- Decide whether it's more economical to rent or lease a tank from a propane provider; this means safety and maintenance is the responsibility of the provider. Owning a tank can save money but means the customer is responsible for upkeep.
Be sure to have answers to questions before you sign a contract. Questions can include what service, budget and payment options are available, how prices are determined, what fees are possible, how often tanks will be refilled, and how much advance time is needed for delivery outside a normal schedule.
While propane prices aren't regulated in Michigan, the MPSC monitors the propane market to identify irregularities that could lead to price or supply disruptions for the approximately 320,000 Michigan households that use propane to heat their homes. The MPSC each year publishes statewide average residential prices during the heating season, which starts Oct. 1.
Michigan uses more propane in the residential sector than any other state, and propane use is highest in rural areas; it's the primary heating fuel for 18% of Upper Peninsula residents and nearly 24% in some northern Lower Peninsula counties, and 8% overall statewide.
Customers can find additional tips and information on the MPSC's propane consumer tip sheet.