Propane costs are soaring in Nova Scotia because of a cold spell in the U.S.

Some states have declared an energy emergency as propane supplies dwindle, which has driven prices up in many parts of North America.

Gary Highfield is the general manager at Wilsons and a member of the Canadian Propane Association Board. He said propane prices are up about 25 per cent this winter

"It's a classic supply and demand situation," he said.

Propane contracts were negotiated last spring, when a warmer winter was predicted. But with the cold temperature, it's been hard to keep up with demand.

Suppliers have had to prioritize customers who really need the propane.

"If they use fireplaces for heat, we will make those deliveries, but if it's just for cosmetic reasons, we've tried to hold off so people who need it for heating their homes have the fuel they need," Highfield said.

Hard on businesses

Java Blend on North Street in Halifax uses propane. Owner Jim Dikaios has seen his bill rise by 10 per cent in the last month.

"I would say we've seen a 50 per cent increase over the past year," he said.

Dan O'Sullivan runs a laundry service in Fall River and has seen a massive increase since last month's propane bill.

"It's gone up 30.5 per cent since the last one," he said.

Highfield said prices have peaked and started to come down. He predicts they will drop more  and possibly quickly  once spring arrives.