Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway are working to ensure the transportation and delivery of propane to residential and commercial customers during the persistent cold weather across the state.
Gov. Beshear will continue to waive federal requirements on propane suppliers in order to expedite the transporting of fuel. General Conway's office is working with propane marketers and consumers to ensure fuel delivery during high demands.
"We are looking at every possible area where we can assist Kentuckians during these frigid temperatures, which have greatly impacted the need for propane, especially by our agriculture community," Gov. Beshear said. "My office will continue to work with the AG and agriculture, energy, transportation and emergency management officials to monitor the effects of this bitter weather."
"This is a scary situation for farmers and residential customers," General Conway said. "My office is working to make sure consumers get the waivers they need if suppliers cannot make deliveries because of propane shortages."
At the request of the Kentucky Propane Gas Association and by direction of the governor, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, working with the Energy and Environment Cabinet, issued an executive emergency order exempting commercial vehicle drivers from federal "hours of service" requirements while transporting propane.
The order was initially signed Jan. 8 by Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock during the polar vortex and was set to expire Jan. 28.
The United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an emergency declaration and extension of state declarations Jan. 21. Kentucky was included in the wavier that extends the hours of service waiver until 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time Feb. 11, or until the emergency ends.
A total of 45 states currently have hours of service waiver orders issued either by state officials or the federal government.
General Conway's office has worked with propane marketers to ensure propane delivery to customers if a company can't adequately supply the fuel. Under law, a propane marketer must authorize another propane company to service their tanks.
Customers whose supplier does not have propane on hand have the right to seek a release from the company. The release permits another supplier to fill their tank. Any company who cannot deliver propane to a customer and refuses to grant a release may be in violation of KRS Chapter 367 and subject to statutory penalties.
The Office of the Attorney General was contacted by several residential and commercial customers in western Kentucky who had difficulties getting a release from United Propane Gas (UPG) and its related affiliates. After being contacted by the Office of the Attorney General, UPG voluntarily agreed to a general release for customers it could not accommodate. The release meant consumers could secure supply from another propane source. However, that release expires tonight (Monday, Jan. 27) at midnight. A link to the current release is available here: http://www.kypropane.org/images/KYAttGenReleaseLetter.pdf.
The Office of the Attorney General will now be monitoring the UPG situation and taking additional action as necessary to make sure consumers are protected on a going-forward basis.