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MPSC urges propane customers to shop now to lock in supply for home heating season
July 25, 2022
Media contact: Matt Helms 517-284-8300
Customer Assistance: 800-292-9555
Michiganders who rely on propane to heat their homes should explore locking in supplies now to ensure they’ll have the fuel they will need as winter’s cold sets in and demand increases.
The MPSC urges Michigan propane users to shop around today for the best deals before we’re back to winter weather and to research options, ask questions about contracts and get terms in writing. It’s particularly important for consumers to know their costs in advance as energy prices have risen sharply amid the ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Here are things to know before you start shopping for propane:
- Propane providers offer budget plans and pre-buy and fixed-price plans that can save consumers money 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.
- Make sure you 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. Additional fees may increase out-of-pocket costs.
- Determine whether it's more economical to rent or lease a tank from a propane provider. Renting or leasing a tank means safety and maintenance is the responsibility of the provider. Owning a tank can save money but leaves the customer responsible for upkeep.
- Be sure to have answers to questions before you sign a contract. Important 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.
Propane users also can help reduce their costs by using energy efficiently. Check out the MPSC’s Be Winterwise page for tips and information including ways to reduce energy use. The U.S. Department of Energy has additional energy saver tips.
Propane prices aren't regulated in Michigan. But the MPSC monitors the propane market to identify irregularities that could lead to price or supply disruptions for approximately 320,000 Michigan households that use propane to heat their homes. The MPSC each year publishes statewide average residential prices weekly 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 is the primary heating fuel for 18% of Upper Peninsula residents and nearly 24% in some northern Lower Peninsula counties, and 8% overall statewide.
If your household is struggling with energy costs, there are options for help. Consumers may contact Michigan 211 by calling 211 or going to www.mi211.org. Michigan 211 is a free, confidential service that connects Michiganders with a broad range of assistance programs and services and other resources, including help with food, housing, transportation and home energy bills. More information on energy assistance is available through the MPSC’s tip sheet on applying for energy assistance.
For additional tips and consumer information, check out the MPSC's propane consumer tip sheet.
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