Bob Chiarelli says province will look at propane shortages
Eastern Ontario residents have been facing long waits for fuel as suppliers face delays
Ontario's energy minister said the province will look into how to help thousands of people who depend on propane as their main source of heat, but so far has not offered any specific solutions.
"We're looking into it, and we're concerned about it, and hopefully we'll have some answers in the next several days," said Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli.
Chiarelli was responding to questions concerning the supply issues with propane in eastern Ontario, where many rural residents use the fuel to heats their homes.
Suppliers in the region say their reserves are low, and some have been rationing their fuel and giving priority to urgent cases.
Just one company, Levac, has about 25,000 customers in the region, and several other companies also operate. All are experiencing the same supply difficulties.
The Canadian Propane Association has said there's no propane shortage, only supply difficulties. But serious shortages have been reported in Canada and across the US from Newfoundland to Minnesota.
Residents having to ration fuel
Kemptville, Ont., resident Genevieve Labelle hopes a solution is found soon. She only installed propane in her home this past summer but has been dealing with shortages since before Christmas.
"What we were doing to conserve for as long as we could is turn the furnace down to 15 at night, and leave it off during the day if I could," said Labelle.
On Sunday she managed to get another supplier to hook up a small propane tank.
While the propane supply is in the hands of large private industry, Labelle and other residents said it's about time the provincial government addressed the shortage.
Chiarelli said he would look to see if it was possible to create new avenues of supply from other jurisdictions to deal with the issue.
But he was short on details Monday and stopped short of making any firm commitments.
He said within the next couple of days he's hoping to have some clearer answers to the ongoing shortage problem.