Propane shortage causes increase in electricity use

AMBERG – As a propane shortage continues to affect those in the Northwoods, many people have turned to other ways to heat their homes.

Portable heaters and electric baseboards are running, and running.

Many people aren’t looking forward to their next utility bill.

“We’re keeping it at 68-69 in here. We got our grandchildren here today, so you got to keep it warm for them,” said Bob Mathis, Amberg.

Bob Mathis says electric baseboards he installed 40 years ago in his Amberg home have been working overtime.

“It’s a backup, and we’re going to try a month and see how we come out,” said Mathis.

Mathis is out of propane.

“The last time we received gas was November, We ran out of gas two weeks ago,” said Mathis.

He has been keeping track of how much electricity he has used, and it frightens him a bit.

“My bill last month was like $112, so maybe I’m at $250-$300. I’ll know after a month where I come out,” said Mathis.

At the Amberg Ace Hardare store, Red Klingman has a similar story.

“We have baseboard heaters put in so we have some heat. We have a fan at the bottom of the stairs blowing the heat up the stairs,” said Red Klingman, Amberg.

“I think people are doing whatever they can do to survive the winter,” said Scott Mathis, Mathis Ace Hardware.

Scott Mathis says electric heaters have been selling quickly, and wood pellets are in short supply.

“We were out for four or five days and then we got them again last Friday. I got another semi load on order, hopefully I’ll get that the beginning of next week,” said Mathis.

And even at $1,700 wood pellet stoves have become an alternative to the high price of propane.

“A lot of people looking at them. Definitely thinking, we’ll try to make it through this winter, and try to do something in the summer time. Funds are getting tight when you have to spend an extra $400-$500 a month that you didn’t expect to,” said Mathis.

It’s a one-two punch for many people, but Bob Mathis says he and his family will make it.

“I’m glad I got the baseboards, I’m hoping to get gas one of these days, said Mathis.

We talked to Wisconsin Public Service and they say they have noticed what they call a small up-tick in the use of electricity.

But that is spread out over their entire coverage area, which includes 450,000 customers in Northeast Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan.

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