Missouri Attorney General announces investigation on propane... - KOAM TV 7

Missouri Attorney General announces investigation on propane gas price spikes


Attorney General Koster announces investigation on propane gas price spikes

Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster announced his office is investigating the cause of the recent rise in the price of propane gas, and will issue a report when the inquiry is complete.  On January 24, 2014, Koster received a request from Senator Mike Parson to conduct an investigation, and forty consumers have filed complaints with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division about the increased costs.  Consumers indicate that the price charged for propane gas increased from approximately $1.94 in December, 2013, to approximately $5.00 in recent days.   

"Missourians are justifiably concerned about the dramatic increase in propane prices, affecting their ability to heat their homes and care for Missouri-based livestock," Koster said.  "I want to thank Senator Mike Parson and many others who have highlighted this important issue and brought these complaints to our office.  We are currently investigating all complaints, and working with businesses and agencies in 9 other states across the Midwest to determine the cause of these price increases."

On January 24, 2014, consumer investigators with Attorney General's Office   participated in a multi-state conference call with representatives of the propane gas industry.  Distributors and analysts have pointed to a sharp increase in the export of propane and substantially higher consumption this winter, which may have created a corresponding shortfall in the supply of domestic propane. 

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Posted January 24, 2014 by Cailey Dougherty:  Some Missouri senators are calling on Attorney General Chris Koster to investigate a recent spike in propane prices.

With recent frigid temperatures, the demand for heating fuel in the Midwest has increased, along with the cost per gallon of propane.

Mount Vernon resident Toby Lackey first noticed an increase on January 14th when the cost per gallon had risen by 50 cents since he last filled up in October.

"When I got the bill, it was quite a shock," Lackey said. "For the average person, when you go from a $250 bill to a $520 bill, it's a big impact on your pocketbook."

The US Energy Information Administration attributes price jumps to an increased demand for propane last fall due to the late corn harvest season in which propane is used to dry the corn. The EIA says the cold winter weather has also been a contributing factor.

Sharon Marsh with M&M Propane in Lawrence County says rationing what is left over of their stock from last fall has allowed them to maintain lower prices.

"We managed to have a little bit of stock from the fall that we pre-purchased and that is holding us over right now," Marsh said. "That's why we're rationing, so we can keep the price as low as we can."

Both propane providers and customers hope that the ending of the winter season will end the increased prices as well.

"It's affected a lot of people because you will see the propane trucks running all day long," Lackey said. "A lot of people depend on propane here."

Lackey also hopes no one would ever try to take advantage of that need.

Missouri Senator Mike Parson is urging Attorney General Chris Koster to investigate propane providers in the region to ensure no price gouging is occurring.

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