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Propane shortage felt in Dawson County
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Amicalola Propane in Dawson County is temporarily limiting the amount of propanedelivered to customers.

Propane prices at the company have nearly doubled in less than one month from $2.25 per gallon in December to $4 per

gallon this week.

We have two options right now for our customers, Kristin Richardson, co-owner and CFO of Amicalola Propane, said.

They can purchase 50 or 100 gallons only. The reason we had to limit is to ensure everyone can have a little gas to get through this cold snap. Were not going to let anyone go without, but our supplies are limited. This is a good solution to a serious problem.

The company relies on a bank of 10 suppliers for propane, but bitterly cold temperatures across the country have led to

a nationwide shortage of propane gas and somereports of price gouging.

Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday signed an executive order banning price gouging on propane gas in Georgia.

Our families, farmers and small businesses are worried about getting the heat they need during times of frigid weather.

They shouldnt have to worry about price gouging,and we aim to prevent that.

Richardson and her husband Matt have oper-ated Amicalola Propane more than 10 years in Dawsonville.

Ninety percent of their 3,000 customers are residential.

In one week, our prices went up more than a dollar, Richardson said. I havent seen prices spike like this, ever.

Some people are upset and accusing us of price gouging, she said. The last thing I would do is gouge people. Our margins are cut in half. Were not making anything because our drops are so inefficient. Our drivers are working round the clock and are out there a lot longer than normal.

Richardson explained a caller to her offi ce on Tuesday had contacted other propane companies who offered lower prices.

Those companies are promising lower prices, but they are telling people they cant deliver for a week to 10 days. By that

time, the crisis will be over, and prices will stabilize shortly after that. What those companies are essentially saying is

theyre out of gas. We are not out of gas.

The shortage of propane gas is being caused by three events, Richard said. First, the midwest experienced a bumper crop of corn with heavier than normal rainfall.

Farmers were using propane to dry out their corn, she said.

Second, temperatures the past two years have been relatively mild, creating a glutton of propane on the market.

American suppliers started shipping gas overseas where they can sell it at higher prices, she said.

The third reason for the shortage is due to arctic blasts that have reached farther into the Deep South.

Usually there is a cold blast in certain areas, but right now were seeing them across the entire country, she said. If we

have to go to Texas to buy gas, we will. Our motto is to keep our loyal customers warm.

Richardson explained that when her customers buy 50 or 100 gallons of propane at higher prices, she, too, has to buy 10,000 gallons also at higher prices.

Were having sticker shock, too, she said. But, this is a short term problem. Were all going to get through it.

At press time, Mark Heard Fuel in Dawsonville was unable to return a call for comment.