Indiana Gov. Mike Pence declared an energy emergency Wednesday as he discussed his plans to help Hoosiers during the state’s propane shortage.
Almost 10 percent of state residents, about 500,000, use propane for residential heating, Pence said.
Pence suspended limits on loads for propane suppliers and directed state agencies to work with the Indiana Motor Truck Association to expedite permit applications and waive fees on overweight loads carrying propane.
“These actions will help propane suppliers run at full capacity,” Pence said.
The announcement was followed by the release of $5 million of Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program funds. The funds will go to local service providers. The LIHEAP benefits for those in need will also increase from $400 to $550 through the end of March.
Pence also extended an emergency proclamation he made at the beginning of this month that lifts some restriction on the number of hours propane transporters can work. The extension will last until March 1.
The governor recently ordered roughly 575 light-duty Department of Transportation trucks to begin using alternate fuel to help conserve propane.
“They have been using unleaded gasoline since last week,” Pence said. “With the expectation of more winter weather around the corner, let me note that this change has no impact on our ability to keep our roads passable and clear snow as this difficult winter continues.”
Pence said that he was still looking to see if anything else could be done to help Hoosiers.
“Our administration is going to continue to pursue every avenue available to us to help Hoosiers through this severe shortage in propane during this difficult winter,” he said.
Pence also urged residents and businesses to do what they could to preserve propane, including turning down thermostats when they leave homes and buildings and using alternative fuel sources if possible. Pence asked for residents to help others when they could.
“I’m going to urge Hoosiers to do what Hoosiers do best. This is just the right time for us to come alongside our neighbors and friends who might be struggling with the high-energy costs or the shortages precipitated by the circumstances in the propane market,” Pence said.
Hoosiers concerned about price gouging by propane companies or broken contracts should call the attorney general’s office at 317-232-6201. Those in need of resources during the shortage can call 211.