© Geraldine Brophy
Blow Me Down Trails kitchen manager Linda Leamon uses propane to cook on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013. The lodge stove and deep fryer are fuelled by propane.
CORNER BROOK — It should be much easier to fill up propane tanks today.
The recent power outages and stormy weather caused trouble for the North Atlantic refinery at Come By Chance and its ability to supply propane to its customers across the province in recent days.
The refinery is the only propane producer on the island and its production had to shut down.
Then, on top of that, the backup plan to truck in propane via the Marine Atlantic ferry service had a monkey wrench thrown into it was weather caused delays in the Cabot Strait ferry runs.
Thursday, the province’s Public Utilities Board hiked the maximum price of propane, while dropping the maximum price for other fuels. Propane now costs a maximum price of $1.057 per litre in the Corner Brook to Gros Morne area.
With 6,000 customers, Superior Propane is the largest of the three propane dealers in the province, along with Irving and North Atlantic itself.
Savannah Robinson, Superior’s national vice-president for marketing, said supplies are still tight, but the situation is improving.
“The supply of propane is not just a regional and it’s not just a provincial issue,” explained Robinson. “The short supply of propane has been an issue all across North America with the cold weather and high demand everywhere.
“Still, Newfoundland is unique and has specific issues.”
The Marine Atlantic ferry did make a run overnight Wednesday, delivering four trucks of propane to the island Thursday. Robinson said more trucks full of propane are on the Nova Scotia side of the Cabot Strait, awaiting their turn to make the crossing and subsequent deliveries to the island.
Robinson said with the supply still not at its normal levels, suppliers have prioritized who gets the gas delivered first.
“We have instituted protocols for customers who don’t use propane for home heat,” said Robinson. “We have prioritized main heat customers and have been working with some of our corporate customers who have been great, in terms of, if they don’t need propane, to put that delivery on delay.”