Consumer Alert from Rep. Dan Moul
9/23/2009
When it comes to buying propane in Pennsylvania, you would do well to shop around and become an enlightened consumer.
 
Propane, which is made from oil and gas, is produced at two refineries in the U.S. Prices for propane shot up last year in response to higher oil prices and increased demand on domestic energy sources. However, as market prices for oil and gas decreased, many propane retailers did not follow suit. In many cases, prices remained high and consumers were expected to bear the cost.
 
Last winter, as oil and gas prices fell, my propane dealer was still charging me almost $4 dollars per gallon. What's worse, the statewide average price per gallon of propane at that time was $2.79! Upon further investigation, I found that I was paying surcharges and fees that I had never agreed to.
 
In order to ensure you are not paying too much for propane, consumers must do their homework. You can check the average retail price for propane in Pennsylvania on the U.S. Department of Energy Web site at www.energy.gov. Also, be sure to check your local yellow pages. You will find a listing of propane retailers who serve your area. Compare costs and see if you're getting your money's worth.
 
If you do not own your own fuel tank, companies that deliver propane will provide a tank in which to store your fuel. This is not free, however. The price of your fuel will include an additional amount to cover the cost of the tank rental. Those fees may add substantially to the per gallon price you pay.
 
You should also know that, as a practice, companies will not put fuel in a tank owned by another company, therefore limiting your delivery choices to the company that owns the tank. To avoid this and the tank rental fees, and to afford yourself the flexibility to purchase fuel at the lowest possible price, you can negotiate with your current provider to purchase your tank at a depreciated price. You would also do well to avoid signing lengthy contracts with your provider.
 
My experience tells me there are likely others out there who are paying too much for propane. I encourage you to challenge the prices and fees you are being charged. If the cost seems too high, check the U.S. Department of Energy Web site to compare prices in your area.
 
Complacency is expensive, but being an informed consumer will save you money.
 
Rep. Dan Moul
91st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(717) 334-3010
(717) 783-5217
Member Site: RepMoul.com
Contact: Donna M. Pinkham
(717) 260-6452
Caucus Site: PAHouseGOP.com