OTTAWA – The federal government is calling for an investigation of a propane supply crisis that has seen prices for the fuel more than double since the fall.
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says he will ask the National Energy Board and Competition Bureau to review the price increases and propane shortages that have affected rural areas mainly in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
Earlier this week, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli pleaded with Oliver to hold a teleconference with his provincial and territorial counterparts to discuss the issue on a national level.
Oliver’s office responded that the minister would not hold such a meeting, and said Ottawa would only step in if Ontario declared a state of emergency.
Transportation issues, colder-than-normal temperatures and shortages of propane resulting from higher-than-usual use of propane by North American farmers in the fall have resulted in a dramatic spike in wholesale prices.
South of the border, the shortages have resulted in a state of emergency being declared in more than 30 states.
Propane is widely used by rural residents and businesses that don’t have access to natural gas pipelines.
Like butane and ethane, propane is a liquid byproduct of natural gas production.