Propane shortage help to retailers and residents - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Propane shortage help to retailers and residents

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - Marathon County authorities are reacting to Governor Scott Walker's state of emergency for the propane shortage.

A news conference was held on Tuesday to explain what resources are available to those in need.

"There are people that are in need, who don't know what the resources are or what assistance is available for them," said Capt. Dale Wisnewski of Marathon County Sheriff's Dept.

Authorities ask people in need to call 1-866-HEATWIS. It depends on each person's situation, but some may qualify for financial help or other services.

"The people that I think we're going to focus on might not necessarily have you know the funds for the propane or are unable to find a propane supplier," said Steve Hagman, the Emergency Management Director of Marathon County.

The United Way reports that hotline has already received several calls from people needing help.

"We have made referrals to other programs that might help them with clothing or with food or other basic needs," said Maiger Moua of United Way.

Propane prices per gallon have nearly tripled compared to this time last year, according to Lakes Gas Co. in Wausau.

That has put a strain on customers.

"We understand that and rather than turn them away because they don't have the money, this program will now help them," said Donna Opper, a Lakes Gas Co. customer service representative.

That program is through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

It guarantees $5 million in loans to financial institutions who loan money to propane retailers.

"It enables us to say to them, yes we can get out there and yes we can deliver you this gas," said Opper.

With steps going to help both the propane retailers and the residents, authorities say they hope those steps will help lead to an end of the shortage.

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