•  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Recent blog posts

U.S. propane stocks increased by 0.9 million barrels last week to 26.6 million barrels as of March 28, 2014, 13.2 million barrels (33.1%) lower than a year ago. Midwest inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels and Gulf Coast inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels. Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories and East Coast inventories both remained unchanged. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 12.5% of total propane inventories up.

Requirements  for training in the proper handling  and operational procedures of propane related work assignments has been  included in every edition of NFPA 58 since the very early 1930’s.  

Over the year the codes have been strengthened and reiterated.   Examples of these requirements can be found in various editions of NFPA 58 in Section 4.4.   Since 1992 this training and subsequent refresher training must be documented.    

Since 2001 Refresher Training has been mandated on a 3-year cycle.  Section 4.4.3 of the latest edition of NFPA states:  REFRESHER TRAINING SHALL BE PROVIDED AT LEAST EVEY THREE YEARS.

The 2014 Edition of NFPA LP-GAS CODE HANDBOOK edited by DENISE BEACH, Senior Engineer, NFPA on page 53 reads as follows: “The requirement for refresher training every three years recognizes that ongoing reinforcement of training is needed, especially for task that are not normally part of the job function, but that the employee may be called on to do.   For example, a bobtail driver may occasionally be called on to fill cylinders at a dispensing station at the propane company’s plant.  The driver clearly must have been trained on filling stationary tanks, but must also be trained to fill cylinders”.

The 2014 Edition of NFPA 58, page 53, requires all persons whose duties fall within the scope of the code to be trained in accordance with their job function.

We all know that that most propane industry employees are cross trained in more than one discipline.  Therefore it stands to reason that refresher training should cover all assignments the employee may be called upon to perform at any given time.  With that in mind, OPGA is offering a two day refresher training course with a written exam and documentation of training to facilitate Member Companies with the requirements as described in NFPA 58 The LP-GAS CODE HANDBOOK.

The two day training is formatted into two separate sessions to cover many of the work assignments within the propane industry.

For instance Day 1 of the refresher training is broken down to review Propane Basics Principles and Practices; OSHA and PPE, Fire Extinguisher Training Review, Basic Plant Operations Review, Pump Operations, High Priority Service Calls for Gas Odors and Leak Checks, General Safe Driving Procedures for Propane Delivery Vehicles and Handling Propane Emergencies.

Day 2 the refresher training is presented to review Propane Cylinder Inspections and Requalification’s and Labeling, NFPA required Propane Distribution Lines, Fittings and Regulators, Importance of Ventilation for Propane Fired Appliances, ASME Tank inspections prior to setting, prior to refilling and during a leak check, Purging and Flaring Propane Containers, Methanol Injections, Evacuating ASME Containers on site, Installing ASME Tanks and conducting Pressure Checks on New Distribution Lines, Flow Pressure and Lock Up Testing of Regulators.

Each day of Training has a 50 Question written exam upon conclusion of the seminar.

This training, as well as the ongoing in-house Safety Training Program of the member companies, CETP classes and documented on the job training will assist the propane industry employer with compliance of the NFPA 58, USDOT and OSHA Refresher Training requirements.

The importance of documentation of training cannot be over stated.  If it isn’t documented, it is difficult to prove it happen.

Participation in these two Refresher Training sessions is an easy, useful and verifiable training venue for your propane company to take advantage of.  Two separate two day sessions are scheduled in one week.  With sufficient interest from member companies additional training dates can be added, however a minimum of 7 registered attendees is required to conduct the training. 

Dear Industry Colleague: 

TELL YOUR SENATORS YOU SUPPORT A TWO-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE
50 CENT PER GALLON ALTERNATIVE FUEL TAX CREDIT (Section 6426(d))     AND
THE REFUELING INFRASTRUCTURE TAX CREDIT (Section 30c)

  

NPGA just has learned that the Senate Finance Committee will markup a tax extenders bill next Wednesday, April 2, 2014

 

It is imperative that you contact both your Senators as soon as possible.

  

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator's office.  

 

Click here to find your U.S. Senators. 

 

Here are some talking points you can use when you get through to the office:

  

1.       Introduce yourself as a constituent from the state and ask for the          

          staffer handling tax issues.  If  unavailable, ask for the energy staffer.

 

2.       When you get through to the staffer:

 

a.    Introduce yourself and your company again and state your interest in the Senate Finance Committee's markup of the tax extenders bill.

 

b. State that you are calling specifically about the extension of alternative fuel tax credits that currently include propane (aka liquefied petroleum gas)

 

c.   Urge the Senator to support a two-year extension of:                                  

 

i. The 50 cent per gallon alternative fuel tax credit covered in tax code Section 6426(d)

 

ii.  The refueling infrastructure tax credit covered in tax code Section 30(c).

 

3.  These tax credits are very important for the alternative fuel vehicle sector. They will spur growth of clean alternatives to gasoline and diesel, and they will help reduce harmful emissions.

 

4.       If your Senator is a Democrat, it is very important that you urge him or her to express support directly to Senator Wyden's office.

 

5.       If your Senator is a Republican, have them contact Senator Hatch's office to express support for your requests.

 

 6.       It will be very helpful if you would let us know the reaction you receive to  your phone calls, so email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Thank you for your help!  Every contact is critical! 

 

The Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed the Vehicle Conversion Bill, HB 336, March 26.  The bill would create the Gaseous Fuel Vehicle Conversion Program which would create several financial incentives for the purchase of conversion or alternative fueled vehicles (AFVs). These include grants for state agencies, political subdivisions, school districts, public transportation systems and nonprofit corporations. The legislation would also create tax credits for the purchase or conversion of alternative fueled vehicles by private businesses and consumers. Grants and tax credits would be capped at three different levels based on vehicle weight class. 

 

Both natural gas vehicles and propane autogas vehicles would be eligible. In addition, there is a $500 tax credit for the purchase of electric vehicles. These incentives are temporary, expiring after five years.

 

Propane marketers and other Ohio businesses could better avoid the damaging effects of state agency regulations if “no change” departmental rules are subjected to the same standards as new rules. Senate Bill 3 would do that and would also plug other important gaps in Ohio’s regulatory oversight process, including subjecting any rule-making by the five statewide elective offices to a business impact analysis.   

Existing Ohio law requires all 15,000+ rules in the state’s administrative code to be reviewed every five years and filed with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). If the state agency reviewing the rule doesn’t make any changes, it is called a five-year “no change” review. In 2011, the Common Sense Initiative Office (CSI) was created to independently evaluate the economic impact of state agency regulations on businesses and to reduce that impact wherever possible. However, the legislation creating CSI did not include “no change” rules in the CSI review process. SB 3 corrects that omission and requires “no change” rules with an adverse impact on business to first be sent through the CSI process before being filed with JCARR.

SB 3 would ensure that compliance with state regulations is as easy and inexpensive as possible and that proposed rules facilitate rather than hinder economic growth, are transparent and responsive, and are enforced fairly and consistently. Testifying to CSI’s effectiveness is the fact  that of the 1,543 regulations reviewed in 2013, 59% were either rescinded or amended and thus revised toward a more business-friendly outcome. 

Currently, over one-fourth of all rules filed are “no change” rules and, under today’s system, are not subject to a business impact analysis. Some of these rules have been on the books for decades and have significant costs associated with them. Having “no change” rules become subject to the same process as new rules, as intended by SB 3, will cut down on government red tape and foster greater continuity, transparency and fairness. 

Ohio PERC has announced the 2014 CETP Class schedule. Please visit http://www.ohiopropanegas.org/cetp for schedule and registration details. 

For Messer Construction, Gov. John Kasich's proposed change to a tiny tax could be a big problem.

The company that's built Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, the latest Children's Hospital research building and much of the streetcar construction frequently handles projects that reach into the hundreds of millions. So the state's 0.26 percent tax on all business activity in Ohio adds up.

And Kasich's proposal to increase that tax to 0.3 percent would mean adding hundreds of thousands of dollars onto Messer customers' bills.

"When you do a huge, $100 million project, that comes to pretty substantial dollars," said Matt Barney, Messer's director of cost accounting.

 

I am very pleased to announce that as of last night both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have unanimously passed legislation extending hours of service waivers for propane deliveries through May 31, 2014.  It now goes to President Obama for his signature.

 

This bill moved through Congress with lightning speed, going through the entire legislative process in only 17 days.  I attribute this remarkable feat to the fact that our industry maintained a high, positive profile throughout the 2014 heating season providing recommendations to policymakers on the state and federal levels.  Your contacts with Representatives and Senators, supported by a knowledgeable and active NPGA advocacy staff, made all the difference in pushing this bill through. 

 

We have more work to do, but for now I'd like to say thank you for a job well done.

 

Our news release and more information is available from the NPGA website www.npga.org.

 

Sincerely, 

Richard Roldan 

NPGA President & CEO

Higher taxes on tobacco, oil and gas operations and business activities would provide the revenue to offset much of a sizable personal income tax cut expected under Governor Kasich’s mid-biennium review budget bill (MBR) set for unveiling this week. 

This new MBR will be introduced into the House of Representatives and will be split into 10-20 separate bills to be studied by various legislative committees. 

As expected, the governor will bring back his plan to increase the oil and gas severance tax, which the GOP-led legislature previously rejected, to help pay for the PIT cut, according to sources briefed by the administration on the proposal. 

While the House’s own version of a severance tax rewrite would set the tax rate at 2.25%, Mr. Kasich is seeking an increase to 2.75%. 

The governor as part of the “tax reform” package may propose an increase in the Commercial Activity Tax rate from 0.26% to 0.30%. The gross receipts-based tax has been lagging against estimates for several months and has been an area of concern for the administration. 

The governor also proposes to increase taxes on tobacco and tax e-cigarettes, sources said. The plan includes two 30-cent increases over two years for cigarettes, and the “equalization” of taxes on “other tobacco products.” 

U.S. Rep. John Boehner R-West Chester), the speaker of the House, celebrated the chamber’s passage of home energy assistance legislation March 4.  “Propane shortages in Ohio and across the nation are driving energy bills through the roof and leaving families concerned they won’t be able to heat their homes as freezing temperatures continue,” he said. “Chairman Shuster’s bill mirrors actions taken by Gov. (John) Kasich to help expedite the delivery of propane and home heating oil to areas where it is most desperately needed. The bill is backed by both parties, and Senate Democrats should waste no time in sending it to the president’s desk.” 

Sen. Brown, meanwhile, on March 5 sent a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration urging it to use its full resources to backstop short-term loans to small businesses impacted by the national propane shortage. 

“Although the price of propane has come down a bit, Ohio’s propane suppliers are still feeling the effects of a winter where supply prices increased more than 19%,” he said. “It’s crucial that small businesses in Ohio receive the short-term help they need to keep their doors open and continue to supply families and small businesses with the resources they need to stay warm through the remainder of this rough winter.”


The Kasich administration announced Tuesday that it is extending the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program’s application deadline from March 31 to April 15. The program assists eligible households that have been disconnected or threatened with disconnection, or have bulk fuel tanks below 36 percent capacity.

“Our heating bills for these cold winter days will come due in March/early April. Extending the Winter Crisis Program allows Ohioans, who didn’t think they would need help, the opportunity to receive it,” Development Services Agency Director David Goodman said in a release.

Goodman said 116,000 Ohioans have benefitted from the Winter Crisis Program since it commenced this year in November 2013.

To qualify, a household must be at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline and undergo a face-to-face interview with their Winter Crisis Program provider, a list of which can be found at http://development.ohio.gov/is/is_heapsummer_prov.htm

More information is available Monday through Friday at the program’s toll-free hotline, 800-282-0880, or at energyhelp.ohio.gov. Hearing-impaired customers may also contact 800-686-1557 for assistance.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has extended the Regional Emergency Declaration for the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio to March 15 . 
 
As with the previous regional exemptions drivers working under this declaration for relief of Hours of Service regulations must carry a copy in their vehicle.  
 
Download a copy of the extension document here.

As announced at the recent Winter Board meeting, NPGA has established a Supply and Infrastructure Task Force charged with conducting a comprehensive post winter season analysis to identify causes and contributing factors, analyze, debate and provide recommendations to the NPGA Executive Committee for future efforts and strategy as it relates to propane supply, distribution and infrastructure.  

 

In addition to the central Task Force, NPGA staff, PERC staff, industry experts and 5 advisory State Executives will help support and provide counsel with the 6 Focus Areas and Working Groups.  This will provide a thorough analysis and review covering all areas of concern as the task force represents input from every geographic region, subject matter experts, and local to national marketers.  

 

Focus Areas:  The taskforce will divide their focus into 6 topic areas, including: 

 

  • PR Communications: This group will provide consistent coordinated messaging with information evolving for the following audiences: State and Federal officials, National and Local Media, Marketers and Consumers, especially consumer outreach to retain confidence and reassure in gallon growth segments.
  • Industry/Marketer Education: This group will address marketer actions (best practices) that can be taken to be better prepared for winter peak demand including how much secondary storage vs gallon sales, truck support, winter only storage, etc. 
  • Consumer Education: This group will address consumer actions that can be taken to include segments that lead to significant demand spikes without summer and allocation building demand like Crop Drying, Curtailment (IC propane users cut off from their NG supply), Chicken/Turkey growers.  The group will address what can be asked of State and Federal Government to support customer infrastructure investment (e.g., ag customer installing an additional 18k tank), and Fuel Cost assistance resources and process review.  
  • Infrastructure and Distribution: This group will address the infrastructure projects that we can and should promote with State and Federal officials, Producers and Pipeline companies. It will also address the question, "What State and Federal actions can be taken in advance of and during a 'state of emergency?'" 
  • Exports and National Inventory Analysis: This group will review and provide feedback on the Export Study, recently commissioned by NPGA, as well as analyze inventory data and develop recommendations for minimal inventory levels and trigger points for industry and government.  
  • Cochin Reversal Impact:  This group will provide recommendations on how the industry can best adapt to the Cochin reversal.  This will have crossover with Infrastructure and Distribution focus area, but this is a material change to the Industry where it's own detailed review was deemed necessary.

Results of the task force and continued efforts from some TF members will dovetail into the support of DOE's Quadrennial Review and possible recommendations for Transportation Section Membership initiatives. 

U.S. propane stocks fell by 1.2 million barrels to end at 26.7 million barrels last week, 24.4 million barrels (47.7%) lower than a year ago. Gulf Coast inventories decreased by 0.5 million barrels, and East Coast inventories dropped by 0.4 million barrels. Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels, and Midwest inventories fell by 0.1 million barrels. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 13.1% of total propane inventories

The Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee took testimony, Feb. 18 on HB 336 which would create the Gaseous Fuel Vehicle Conversion Program. Proponents included Chuck Diehl, fleet manager of Smith Dairy Trucking Company; Sam Spofforth, executive director for Clean Fuels Ohio; Kevin Krober, senior vice president and the head of Utica Development for American Natural; Brad Couch, CNG business development manager for Ariel Corporation; and Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC).

Spofforth told the committee the bill "will create several financial incentives for the purchase of conversion or alternative fueled vehicles (AFVs). These include grants for state agencies, political subdivisions, school districts, public transportation systems and nonprofit corporations. The legislation would also create tax credits for the purchase or conversion of alternative fueled vehicles by private businesses and consumers. Grants and tax credits would be capped at three different levels based on vehicle weight class. Both natural gas vehicles and propane autogas vehicles would be eligible. In addition, there is a $500 tax credit for the purchase of electric vehicles. At Clean Fuels Ohio, we do not want to see permanent subsidies. These incentives are temporary, expiring after five years. This industry needs a hand up, not a hand out."

He added that most neighboring states already have some form of financial incentives for AFV adoption.

Gov. John Kasich Friday extended his previous emergency declaration to help expedite shipments of propane gas until March 1.

The governor issued the original declaration last month to help ease tight propane gas supplies due cold weather that has plagued Ohio throughout the winter. The declaration allows commercial vehicles transporting propane to more quickly deliver supplies.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued its own declaration to help expedite propane gas shipments from other states. The declaration was made at the request of the governor and the governors of other Midwestern states. 

The PUCO Transportation Department has granted limited regulatory relief for the intrastate transport of heating oil and propane that will expire at 11:59 PM, March 1, 2014.   The attached notice details the terms and conditions of this regulatory relief.

 

Click here for the notice that details the terms and conditions of this regulatory relief. 

Please call (614) 466-0369 with questions.

Last week Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Office sent a letter to all propane marketers/suppliers in the state of Ohio (both OPGA members and non-members).  

 

The Attorney General is responding to hundreds of propane related consumer complaints which have been logged into his office since the beginning of the year.

 

According to the letter, the Attorney General's Office is attempting to review this matter on a statewide basis and was asking for the requested information returned to his office within 10 days of receipt of the letter. In response to a letter sent from the Ohio Propane Gas Assn.. the Attorney General has extended the deadline to March 7, 2014.

 

Click here to see the original AG letter sent.

Click here to see the extension letter.

 

 

Propane Safety message submitted by Dave Bertelsen,

Please remember, 

 

Now that it’s winter, animals seek out the heat of vehicles to stay warm.

 Before starting your car, please check around the wheels and engine for these cold animals.

 

 You may not even notice they are there.

b2ap3_thumbnail_CowCar.jpg

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Ohio’s Senator Rob Portman, pressed the White House this week to provide relief for farmers, ranchers and other users of propane who have seen prices for the fuel triple in some parts of the country.

In a letter to President Obama, 29 senators said the White House should direct its agencies to explore what authority they have to help bring propane fuel to areas facing shortages. Prices for propane, used in the Midwest and other regions to heat homes and provide backup electrical generation, have spiked as extremely cold weather and reduced rail deliveries and pipeline maintenance issues have squeezed supplies.

"Homes, businesses, and farms desperately need propane, and the shortage threatens the safety of families and the financial stability of farms and businesses," the lawmakers said in a letter Friday. "We ask you to identify and implement sensible strategies, provided by law, to guide federal agencies in assisting states with efforts to mitigate the effects of the current propane shortage."

You are here: Home Recent blog posts