Propane Availability Shortage Drives Up Cost
6:49 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Lawmakers Aim To Ease Propane Cost In Cold Winter

Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon)
Credit ilga.gov

  The polar vortex returned to the Midwest this week, with frigid temperatures making it difficult for Illinoisans to keep their houses warm. Winter has been especially harsh for people who heat with propane, which has seen a near four-fold price increase in the wake of a regional shortage.

Hannah Meisel reports on lawmakers' response to Illinois' propane emergency.

State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) says the cost of propane is forcing families to make difficult decisions.

"The result is individuals and families who are having to make very real decisions about whether or not they can adequately heat their homes in the coming days and weeks ahead," Righter said.

Righter, along with State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Carlinville) and Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) are sponsoring bipartisan legislation aimed at making propane more accessible for families and businesses. The bill would increase funding for a low-income heating assistance program, and raise the income threshold for families to participate.

The price hike has been driven not only by a particularly cold winter, but also increased consumption of propane by farmers drying their crops in an especially wet fall.