Propane client says she’s low priority with supplier

Josh Pennell Josh.pennell@thetelegram.com
Published on January 14, 2014
Propane has been a scare commodity since the power outage. — Think stock image

The response from one woman’s propane supplier has her feeling as though her business doesn’t count and that her well-being doesn't matter.

“It's very frustrating when they tell you when they can deliver,” says Cathy White of Portugal Cove–St. Philip’s.

Despite having ordered propane Dec. 3, on Sunday she was told by Superior Propane that there was no propane to be had in the region and it would be weeks before she would get any.

White has a propane fireplace in her basement as the main heat source for that area of the house. During the blackouts, she turned it down low as she knew she was running out, but left it on to keep the chill from her basement. The heat she got from it wasn’t enough to keep her pipes from bursting, .

“It was 7 C in my bedroom,” she says during the blackouts. “If it gets really cold again, I’m worried that my water pipes will again rupture.”

She was told by Superior she isn’t a high priority because she only has a propane fireplace and but a propane stove for cooking. According to the customer service representative she spoke with, Superior’s delivery offers higher priority to customers who use propane in large quantities such as hospitals, churches, restaurants and people who use propane to heat their entire homes. She argues while she has other heat sources in the rest of her house, her fireplace isn’t just for aesthetic reasons. It is the heat source in her basement and is essential for helping to heat the rest of her house, as well.

On Monday, she heard a story in the media about local propane fireplace sellers doing a booming business since the blackouts.

“What is the point in purchasing a propane fireplace now when there is no propane to be had?” she asks.

White was told Superior’s president told staff to tell customers such as White that because it can’t buy propane at Come By Chance, they are trying to truck in propane from other Atlantic provinces.

A call made to Superior Propane was not returned as of deadline.

North Atlantic responded via email on the status of the Come By Chance refinery with the following:

“We have now started to produce propane at our refinery. We have never stopped selling it. We have imported propane getting out to customers.”