South Boston, VA - The cost of propane has been going up over the past few weeks and experts say it may not come down any time soon. There has been a shortage of the gas since the Fall, and as the temperatures have dropped, demand has gone way up.
South Boston's Southern States Manager Donald Bowes says us a typical 24-hour turnaround for them to fill up has been taking up to a week.
The past few weeks have kept Southern States very busy.
"I've been in the business 22 years. This is about the worst its been in 20," said Bowes.
Bowes says a propane shortage has affected people across the country. He says it started in October when the Midwest had an abundance of grain crops mixed with a wet year.
"They used a massive amount of propane during the drying season," said Bowes.
Add that to the extreme colds throughout most of the U.S., causing demand to skyrocket.
"It just hasn't had time to recover then," said Bowes.
Prices have shot up about a third.
"It went up about 60 cents per gallon this week," said Randy Smith, propane customer.
Smith says he's been paying hundreds of dollars a month to heat his home.
"It definitely cuts into your budget quite a bit. Especially weather like this, it takes a big toll," said Smith.
Back at Southern States, they've spent more man hours, sending crews around the area to help customers fill up on propane.
"We have to put partial deliveries to customers, we have to do extra work to make sure everyone has fuel rather than dumping it all in one place, some people going without," said Bowes.
Bowes doesn't expect to see propane costs going down anytime soon, something customers and suppliers dread.
The Energy Information Administration experts say people who use electricity and natural gas should plan for record high prices.
To help save money, keep the thermostat low when you're not home. Also check early if you need more propane or natural gas to prevent an outage.