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The Real Deal: Propane Budget Plans More Than Double

Amsterdam We're all paying big time to stay warm this winter. As CBS6 has been reporting, the price of propane, electric and other heating sources is sky-high.  Propane in particular is also in short supply and even those who are on budget plans, meant to make propane more affordable, are still shelling out big bucks.

Valerie VanAntwerp is trying to supplement her heat the good old fashion way, with a wood stove because the other day she got a letter from her provider, Blue Flame, saying her budget plan needed to be adjusted because she's using more than they projected and the price of propane has spiked.  "Next thing you know, I get a letter in the mail saying you're going to need an estimated 300 gallons more at this fixed rate," VanAntwerp says.  A fixed rate that is more than double the price per gallon that she was paying, "I went from $120 monthly payment to $423 dollars, four times what I was paying a monthit's not, it's not manageable for me," she adds.

Worse yet, the suppler can't even guarantee a full fill every time they come out because of the shortage.  As CBS6 has been reporting, because of a wet corn crop in the Midwest, a large amount of the normal propane supply was used for drying, then cold snaps in December and January drove up the demand, shortening the supply.  A number of local providers have said they simply can't get their hands on enough propane and when they do, the price per gallon is through the roof.  According to NYSERDA, the price per gallon of propane in the Captial Region is currently about $4.05/gallon, in November it was just over $3.00.  

"It's frustrating because I earn just enough where I can't get any help, HEAP or anything and you just don't know where to turn and you're scared, you don't want to run out in winter, then your pipes will freeze, it just leads to everything else," VanAntwerp says.  She's hoping she won't need all of the extra gallons her provider thinks she will and she's doing what she can to try and cut down on her usage.