The emergency proclamation issued by Governor Mike Pence to ease the restriction on the hours of service for propane transporters has been extended through March 1. The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon during a press conference at 1:30 p.m. CT, when he also declared an energy emergency, suspending limitations on divisible load for propane suppliers, as well as directing INDOT and the Department of Revenue to work with the Indiana Motor Carriers Association to expedite permit applications and waive fees on overweight loads carrying propane.
“These actions will help propane suppliers run at full capacity. Now, for public safety, drivers with overweight and oversize loads will have to contact the Department of Revenue to provide them with their route, the truck weight and size configuration,” said Pence.
Pence said his administration is going to continue to pursue every possible option to help Hoosiers through this severe propane shortage in the midst of this difficult winter. The governor also issued a call to action for his fellow Hoosiers to come alongside neighbors, friends and family who might be struggling. He urges people who are in need of help to call 211, a statewide number to put them in touch with any available resources.
Pence also urges everyone to do what they can to conserve energy and use alternate heat sources if available.
“We want to urge every Hoosier to do what you can to conserve your use of propane energy. Turn down the thermostat if you’re away from home, turn it down a little bit more than you usually would. By lowering the temperature and lowering consumption and increasing conservation, we will ease the burden on the supply.”
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann spoke about increases in energy assistance programs during the conference as well. She said the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority has allocated extra funds to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help increase benefits for Hoosiers.
“As of today, IHCDA has released an additional $5 million to the LIHEAP funds which will go to the local service providers, allowing those who are out of or nearly out of propane the ability to increase their benefit from $400 through this winter season that ends in March to $550 for the season,” said Ellspermann.
Pence said the shortage was caused by a “perfect storm” of circumstances that culminated in a severe shortage, and he’s doing everything in his power to help alleviate the situation.
“We’re facing a shortage of propane in the Midwest and in this country, and it is a shortage that is a result of something of a perfect storm between a wet season that required more energy utilization for drying grain, combined with what I don’t need to tell any of you has been one of the toughest winters that we’ve seen here in the Hoosier state and across the Midwest, and that combination has been driving shortages,” Pence explained.