Suppliers hustle to meet propane demand

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — The low temperatures have made the demand for propane go sky high.

Gov. Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency Thursday in response to the high demand hoping to ensure everyone stays warm.

Workers at Ortega’s Propane Services say business is booming with the latest cold snap in New Mexico.

It has been the same throughout the Southwest region of the country sparking a shortage as customers hurry to stock up on enough propane to heat up through the winter.

“We have come to where the transport drivers have barely made it to get our propane,” says David Davis with sales and services at Ortega’s.

Ortega’s says they are luckier than most.

While one competitor ran out of propane and asked Ortega's to deliver to one of their customers, Ortega’s had enough propane stored away to get them by when their suppliers were running late.

Without it, the manager says they would be hurting.

“Truck drivers that deliver to us, they say they are having a hard time with the weather and everything,” Davis says.

In hopes of keeping those drivers on the move, the governor declared a state of emergency Thursday allowing the state to lift regulations that limit their driving hours.

The good news is companies contact by News 13 say the high demand hasn't changed their prices, and in many cases it just means a longer wait time for your delivery.

One AmeriGas location tells News 13 deliveries have been taking about a week instead of a few days.

They are also rationing sales only filling up half the tank instead of their usual 80 percent.

Other companies say that while they are not rationing, they are not taking new customers to make sure their current ones are taken care of.

They all agree the governor's executive order should help them keep up with the demand.

The order will last for the next two weeks.

Martinez issued a similar order in February 2011 during a natural gas outage that left thousands of New Mexicans without heat.

Earlier coverage:

The deep chill has New Mexicans scrambling to fill up on propane to stay warm, and that's prompted Gov. Susana Martinez to declare a state of emergency.

New Mexico has now joined Nevada and Arizona in lifting regulations truck drivers in hopes of increasing deliveries of propane to suppliers.

The governor's executive order waives limits on drivers' time on duty normally required under federal regulations.

The governor signed the order Thursday.  It remains in effect for the next two weeks.

Propane has been in high demand as frigid temperatures spread across the state with some areas fight snow and ice as well.

The National Weather Service expects temperatures to warm up a bit in Albuquerque this weekend although it's expected to be a short break from the winter weather.

Propane companies contacted by KRQE News 13 have been getting plenty of calls from concerned customers.

Governor Martinez issued a similar order February 2011 during a natural gas outage that left thousands of New Mexicans without heat.

KRQE News 13 will have more on the propane shortage and what you can do to say warm on News 13 at 4 p.m.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
Offices & Officials

Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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