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Propane usage expected to increase by nearly 10%, says winter energy report

Jason Woodhead

The Michigan Public Service Commission has released its yearly winter energy report, and officials said it’s a “mixed outlook.”

According to the report, propane demand is expected to rise by 9.9% this winter, in part due to people working remotely. Propane prices were up by as much as 80-cents per gallon in early October. Natural gas use for home heating is expected to rise just slightly, unless the winter is colder than usual.

The state is meeting its energy expectations for the year, said Dan Scripps, Chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission.

"When you’re hearing other stories on Minnesota or other states being particularly hard hit, it’s not as bad in Michigan," he said. "But it’s still likely to be a little higher than it has been last year."

Scripps said markets typically rise and fall, but this year there were some external factors.

“The Texas energy freeze had an impact in terms of pricing for some utilities--less in Michigan than in other places--but those ripple effects are being felt,” he said.

An increase in prices could affect low-income residents, Scripps said. Anyone worried about meeting the costs can go to MPSC’s website for payment plans and links to organizations willing to help.