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Be an informed buyer of propane this winter PDF Print E-mail

Dear Editor:

The third week of this past September, I was asked by an older neighbor to look at a new budget payment plan she received from the propane supplier. Last year, the monthly payment was $42 a month. The new budget plan sent to her went up to $173 a month, a 400% increase over last year’s budget plan.

I called the supplier and asked the woman who answered the phone what the cost per gallon for propane was if I leased a tank today. She told me the first fill would be $1.69 per gallon. I then restated my question and asked her if I already leased a tank, what the cost would be. She told me that the cost depends on market conditions. She was giving me the runaround.

I asked her if I needed to contact someone else in the corporation to get this information. She then told me it was $2.92 per gallon. I repeated the figure, $2.92 per gallon, back to her as I wrote down the price. I thanked her and ended the call.

I then called a locally-owned supplier. I asked how much would I pay per gallon if I leased a tank from them. I got a straight forward answer that $1.69 per gallon was the cost and it was not a discounted first fill price.

I talked to my neighbor and explained to her that by changing propane suppliers, she would save a considerable amount of money. She agreed. We closed her account.

If you get a card in the mail offering you money or other discounts for switching propane services, don’t assume you will always get the best price for gas from the supplier throughout the winter heating season. Be aware that suppliers have different policies and profit margins and per gallon prices can vary greatly.

If you do not own your tank, know that leasing a propane tank is similar to buying or leasing a car. Be a wise and informed buyer. Always remember the phrase, Caveat Emptor, “Let the buyer beware.”

Uno Bloom

Eagle River

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 2:54 PM

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