Propane shipping delays hit eastern Ontario

A dwindling supply of propane is causing big headaches for consumers and suppliers in Ontario and Quebec.
Number of factors lead to shortage for propane retailers in Ottawa area. 3:23

A dwindling supply of propane is causing big headaches for consumers and suppliers in Ontario and Quebec.

Thousands of people in the region depend on the gas to heat their homes, but some suppliers say their reserves are low.

Jean Marc Levac, the owner of Propane Levac in St. Isidore, said his stocks are so low they've had to ration the fuel and give priority to urgent cases.

"A cold snap early in December and now another on, (it's) unusual at this time of the year so all companies are struggling a little bit because of the demand," said Levac.

Propane Levac in St. Isidore, Ont., has been rationing its supply as it deals with an unexpected propane shortage. (CBC)

Numerous propane companies in the area are also struggling with growing demand and dwindling supplies. Superior Propane has temporarily stopped supplying propane for fireplaces that are not used for heat. Other companies would only talk to CBC off the record for fear of panicking their customers.

'Dangerous' situation, says McTeague

Dan McTeague, a former Liberal MP turned energy analyst, calls it a dangerous situation.

"Demand has been high and we simply don't have enough to meet our own needs," said McTeague. "That is a sad situation that has occurred and a dangerous one when you consider some people are scrambling to find the very essence of heating their own homes."

The Canadian Propane Association issued a news release Friday, saying that "due to early and sustained colder than normal winter temperatures, some propane retailers in certain areas of Ontario and Quebec are experiencing delays."

Levac thinks the cold weather is just one factor. He also says the shortages are also the result of propane exports to other parts of the world and larger than normal industrial use in the United States.

He is appealing to his customers to economize and be patient.

"I guess the best way right now is to hold to fireplaces, just shut them off and tighten the belt a little bit and in a few days probably the market will be back to normal."


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