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Local businesses on the brink of closing because of propane shortage

Governor Scott Walker says he is holding a special meeting on Monday to discuss the propane shortage across the state.
CRIVITZ, Wis. (WFRV) - Governor Scott Walker says he is holding a special meeting on Monday to discuss the propane shortage across the state.


The Governor said there is no quick fix to the shortage that is sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.


Senator Dale Schultz asked Governor Walker to use some of the state's surplus revenue to address the problem.


Governor Walker said more money will not have an impact.


However, Monday's meeting might be too late for some businesses that rely on propane to power things like furnaces, stoves and water heaters.


"Our tank is about seven percent or less right now" says Dianna Bloor, the Co-Owner Dockside Bar and Grill.


The propane shortage comes as she is about to get a rush of business.


"Now that we finally have snow we are going to get business this weekend with the snowmobilers and we have to keep things going here" she explains.


Because they do not  know when the next fill up will come, the owners bought portable electric heaters and griddles to keep the doors open.


"This is supposed to be one of the busiest times that we are making income for the winter" Bloor explains.


While Local 5 was at Dockside Bar, the owners got a very important phone call.


There is a company who has propane to sell them, but instead of the $1.29 they are used to, it will be $5.00 a gallon.  


"This is the very first time we have had a problem getting propane ever" Bloor says.


So why is there a shortage impacting 30 states?


First, farmers used an unexpected amount of propane to dry the corn crop this past fall, depleting local inventories.


Then, a major Midwest pipeline shut down in December.


Finally, bitter cold temperatures spiked demand.


In all six million households in the United States use propane as their primary heating fuel.


"I turned all the heat to 66 and I am not using the oven" says Mary Dopp who already has one frozen pipe in her home and fears more are on the way.


Bloor is concerned about neighbors. "What is going to happen in the future with the people who do not know they are out of propane up here? People who have vacation homes they will be running out of propane and their pipes will be freezing" she says.


Propane suppliers say they are also paying more when they receive shipments.       


Bills are three times what is typical.


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