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Help for the propane crisis

January 30, 2014
The Daily News

The propane shortage continues to impact residents of Marinette County with no long term solution in sight. The Marinette County Emergency Management Office is coordinating local efforts to provide assistance to residents in need.

The response to the propane shortage has been mostly monetary and aimed at low income residents and propane dealers to help them purchase LP gas, said Marinette County Emergency Management Director Eric Burmeister.

Marinette County realizes that other residents and businesses are affected also, and do not have a safety net to help them through this crisis, Burmeister said. Namely, the family that exceeds the income levels for Energy Assistance or Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund, or the small business that cannot afford the current prices, or perhaps they pre-paid a propane vendor who now cannot fulfill their contract and they have to buy propane elsewhere at a higher cost.

While the county cannot procure propane to assist those in need, it can relay information to state agencies and legislators to demonstrate that there is an unmet need, he said.

Marinette County Emergency Management has created an on-line survey and phone number to gather information on how this crisis is affecting residents and businesses. The survey is intended for only those homeowners/businesses that use propane as the only source of heat.

To access the survey on-line go to Marinette County's website (

The survey is on the homepage under "Latest News" with a date of January 29, 2014. Those residents without internet access may call 715-732-7315 and leave a message. Marinette County will not share personal information with outside agencies.

Be prepared to provide the following information:

- Name of owner and address of affected residence/business, including street, city and zip code.

- Municipality (Town, village, city).

- Telephone number where you can be reached.

- Will the LP in your tank sustain you until it can be refilled?

- Have you been in contact with your propane vendor?

- What arrangement to you have with the propane vendor (no contract, pre-paid contract, contract to fill as needed but not pre-paid)?

- Name of your propane vendor.

- Do you have a plan if you need to leave your home/business?

- Do you know how to winterize your home in the event you have to leave (drain pipes, etc.)?

- Are you receiving Energy Assistance or Keep WI Warm Funds?

Because this could be a lengthy phone call, residents are encouraged to fill out the on-line survey if at all possible.

Marinette County Propane Survey

Do you currently heat your home/business with propane?



Is propane your only source of heat?



Is this a home or business? Name, address or property affected (Street, City, Zip).

Phone number you can be reached: Municipality:



Are you confident that the LP in your tank will sustain you until it can be refilled?



Have you been in contact with your propane provider?



Will your propane provider be able to re-supply you sufficiently to remain in your home/business?



Name of propane provider.

What arrangement do you have with a propane vendor?

Do you have a plan if you need to leave your home/business?



Do you know how to prepare your home/business for cold weather in the event you have to leave?



Are you receiving Energy Assistance or Keep WI Warm Funds?



Residents in Florence County are also facing heating emergencies, said Jen Steber, Director of the Florence County Human Services.

With the severe cold weather, Florence County is reminding individuals to call Florence County Human Services for emergency heating assistance.

To schedule an appointment or for those households that have applied for Energy Assistance and require additional help in paying their heating costs due to propane costs or other emergencies, contact the Florence County Human Services Office at (715) 528-3478 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Steber said.

Florence County residents experiencing an emergency after-hours are asked to contact the Sheriff's Department at 1-800-235-9897.

Residents may be eligible for the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program if the gross household income is 60 percent of the state median income level or less.

Residents may apply for the program until May 15, 2014.



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