Connecticut lawmakers have renewed calls to end state regulations that prohibit propane tank refueling by anyone other than a tank’s owner, Stamford.patch.com reports.
Most home propane tanks are owned by the gas supplier. So the state regulation forces homeowners to buy propane from a single gas company and stops gas customers seeking lower rates elsewhere.
The state’s Energy Committee co-chair called for changes last spring to make propane companies more transparent and force them to operate more like heating oil dealers.
And Governor Dannel.P.Malloy signed an executive order in November to ensure households could get temporary access to propane gas – even from competitors of the tank owner. It followed unseasonable autumn snow storms that disrupted gas supply to some homes.
“Temporarily suspending this state regulation will allow residents who need their tanks refilled to do so more easily.”
Speaking this week in support of a permanent end to the single supplier rule, State Senator John Fonfara said propane companies had to become more transparent or face being regulated by the state.
However Senator Bob Duff opposed legislative changes on safety grounds.
“It’s a lot more complex then it sounds. The driver who delivers propane is essentially delivering liquid gas. There are a lot of different rules and safety protocols.”
Gas companies should remain liable for the tanks and their refuelling instead of passing that responsibility to homeowners.
State Rep Laura Hoydick backed calls for greater customer choice.
“Transparency for the consumer is a priority.”
Meanwhile, a large Shelton, CT based propane supplier said Connecticut enjoyed some of the Northeast’s lowest average propane heating prices. Any move towards regulation would derail competition and potentially force prices higher.