TOPEKA – The cooler temperatures forecasted serve as a reminder that winter will be here before you know it. Heating your home during the winter months can create a financial burden. This year, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Propane Marketers Association of Kansas (PMAK) encourage propane users to fill early, while prices are lower. For those who relied on propane last year for heating, a propane shortage and high costs caught many residents by surprise.
“Now is the time to prepare for another potentially harsh winter,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “Filling your propane tank during the early fall months will help ensure your family can stay warm and safe during the winter when temperatures dip.”
Last year, 719 Kansans benefited from the Emergency Propane Relief Program. Governor Sam Brownback directed DCF to help those who didn’t qualify for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) but were still struggling to meet the extreme costs associated with the propane shortage. In mid-January, propane costs spiked to $4.06 per gallon. The cost fell back to normal by March, to $1.17 per gallon.
The emergency program helped families whose income fell between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level. It provided a one-time $511 benefit to eligible households. The LIEAP program served households with an income of less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level. LIEAP applications will be accepted, beginning January 20. Priority status will once again be issued for clients who list propane as their primary heating source on their LIEAP applications.
“The hope is that the Emergency Propane Relief Program will not be needed again; you can’t control Mother Nature,” PMAK Executive Vice President Greg Noll said. “If Kansas propane customers begin taking steps now to prepare for a difficult winter, we will be in much better shape this time around.”
Both PMAK and DCF are monitoring the situation closely. For more information about current prices and propane use in Kansas, contact the Propane Marketers Association of Kansas at 785-354-1749 or visit www.pmak.org.