LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The Midwest continues to suffer from a propane shortage but government officials are stepping up to help local residents and companies.
President Barack Obama has provided an additional $14.2 million in emergency heating benefits for Wisconsin, while state officials continue to provide millions more to address the shortage.
One local supply company said the situation isn't over yet, but it's definitely getting better.
"We still have some calls about people who are concerned about supply. Most of the people have heard that there are shortages in the area, but we have had consistent supply throughout," said General Manager of Midwest Fuels Aaron Benson.
Benson said they have been able to get supply a little closer to home.
"We are starting to see supply become more readily available and prices are beginning to moderate as well," said Benson. "Our typical supply locations do have supply again."
However, it hasn't been easy, especially for the customers. Government officials decided to step in when the increase of supply and demand forced the price of propane to skyrocket.
"What we're starting to see is more energy assistance funds becoming available to our customers," said Benson.
"We've released $8.5 million in emergency benefits to help our most vulnerable citizens," said Gov. Scott Walker in a weekly radio address.
Walker said the state has also helped propane companies get supplies.
"We're providing $8 million in loan guarantees, so our propane suppliers have the money they need to purchase propane in Wisconsin," said Walker.
With all of this help, the situation is improving. However, there is still a lot of work to be done.
"We'll continue to work with our state legislators and the industry to help Wisconsin recover from this propane shortage," said Walker.
"There's plenty of winter left but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Benson."
It's hard to foresee a propane shortage in the area, but there are some programs available to help manage the cost of fuel throughout the heating season. Some companies offer a pre-pay program or budget plan where you can get your fuel at a fixed price during the summer months when the prices are traditionally less expensive.
The state has set up a help line you can call if you need heating assistance. The number is 1-866-432-8947.
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