Oklahoma may have weathered the cold weather-fueled storm that caused propane prices to skyrocket.
Prices have dropped about 50 percent since late January at the storage hubs in Kansas and Texas that serve Oklahoma, said Richard Hess, executive director of the Oklahoma Propane Gas Association.
Hess said it will take some time for lower prices to trickle down to the retail level, as retailers replace their supplies.
Propane dropped to $1.58 a gallon on Tuesday at Mont Belvieu, Texas. Propane sold for $4.32 on Jan. 24 at the Conway, Kan., hub, he said.
Oklahoma has an estimated 400,000 residents who rely on propane for their primary heat source.
The state has doled out more than $1 million to help low-income residents with their propane bills since Jan. 31, when Gov. Mary Fallin directed the Department of Human Services to give those Oklahomans priority status in requests for assistance.
Records show 3,753 low-income Oklahomans who use propane for heating fuel received $1,033,453 in assistance since the governor issued her order.
“High propane prices are really hurting Oklahoma families,” Fallin said in a statement. “In some cases, we know that families are choosing not to heat their homes. That can actually be dangerous given how cold it has been.
“I’m glad to see the directive to prioritize assistance for propane users is helping Oklahomans to get the assistance they need.”
Hess said recent U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission orders meant to get more propane to customers in the Midwest and Northeast didn’t do much for Oklahoma. The pipeline directed to prioritize propane shipments through Feb. 21 does not serve any Oklahoma markets, he said.
Hess said state propane prices likely dropped because dealers curtailed their purchasing while advising customers to buy less until prices stabilized.