Severe cold temperatures have hit Northeast Oklahoma over the past week with actual temperatures reaching around 4 degrees F and wind chills between -10 and -16 degrees F. While this arctic blast has caused some schools to close and everyone to spend more effort taking care of outside animals, we have been lucky enough to avoid any major snow or ice accumulation.
Temperatures will be warming up into the weekend which gives everyone a chance to stock up and prepare for additional severe cold weather coming soon. Most local weather experts including Travis Meyer of News on 6 agree that while additional severe cold weather is expected, we are still expecting this winter to stay relatively dry. While a dry winter helps with driving conditions and for wild animals to find food, it does not give us much of a reprieve on demand for heating.
Propane suppliers to the local service companies are seeing the massive increase of demand for propane and increasing propane prices to try to offset this larger demand. Prices with Mayes County Propane and others went up today because of this and could go higher if longer periods of severe cold temperatures persists.
Ryan McCuistion of Mayes County Propane said, "We don't want to increase our pricing for our customers, but our job is to provide propane when people need it. We have to keep them warm and with severe weather like we have had, having propane is a safety thing. That means that when our supply tanks run low, we have to refill at higher costs from our propane providers. That increase in price then trickles down to the home and business owners. We don't like it, but it is simple economics of supply and demand. More demand leads to increases in prices to try to offset demand and make supplies last. We see this every year but the severely low temps and windchills recently are definitely requiring higher usage of propane."
McCuistion also said that with the lack of snow or ice, delivering propane to their customers has been no problem at all. "We are committed to serving our customers and the overall community and the clear roads have definitely helped. We are locally owned and we all live in Mayes, Wagoner and Rogers counties. When we deliver propane, we are delivering propane to our neighbors, to someones Grandma, or someones kids that we may know. Our quick deliveries help keep them warm and safe and that is why they rely on us as their propane provider."
MCP doesn't take that responsibility lightly and they do their best to try to maintain the best pricing available. They continually look for deals but in the peak of the season like we are seeing now, there aren't much in the way of deals to be had. However, if this business was easy, everyone would do it. "We have been delivering propane and other heating fuels for almost 80 years. It isn't our first rodeo, but we feel we do it better than anyone else around. The main thing is people can count on us when needed and not think we are overcharging them in the process."
Photo credit to Oklahoma Fox 25 News, January 15th.