At the propane dealer's today : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I dropped by the propane dealer today and had a chat with the person there, a knowledgeable, hard-nosed, common-sense businesswoman.

I told her that I wanted a propane tank, even though I have natural gas, "As a backup system for Y2K", she interrupted me. "Took the words right out of my mouth."

She then got kind of aggressive, telling me that it's not as simple as switching out a few orifices, that my water heater won't convert at all, my gas fireplace will require new burners, etc. In other words, giving me problems not solutions.

After a bit of conversation, I got her to relax. Turns out she's had a load of inquiries like this, and she's just tired of explaining it all. Here's some intelligence from the propane front:

Her company (Amerigas) will not lease a propane tank for y2k purposes. You have to buy it. What happens after that is your problem.

The rate of inquiries has slowed down from last fall, when she was getting 15 calls a day.

They are not getting any better answers about electricity that the rest of us. Since their on-site pumps are electric, they've decided to install a gravity-fed tank next month, just in case. They feel a great obligation to be able to service their customers, who rely on propane to keep them heated and alive through a Montana winter.

They've been informed by the power company that they are at the top of the list for power-company-supplied generators in the event of a blackout. Supplying propane is considered a life-or-death situation.

I decided right away that I was glad to hear that. A little later, it occurred to me that this is not in line with the power co's standard PR line, which of course is that we need not worry. It seems that folks in the energy biz ARE worried.

Aaaaand: the oil co's which supply propane are raising the price now, even though fall is historically the low point of the price cycle. A bit of price-gouging was suspected. Propane is refined from nat'l gas, not from oil, so a price increase is not related to the oil price.

So, I'm armed with a little more info, and need to do a little more research before implementing this cornerstone of my prep plan. Hope this helps any of my fellow lurkers out there.

-- Brady (, September 22, 1999


She's right about changing the orifices, burners, etc. You will be in the same boat when propane will be VERY expensive and hard to get. My husband works for a major utility company here in California, and people are converting from propane to natural gas because propane is too expensive and will go even higher this winter. He does these conversions all the time and the company provides the service for free. Call your natural gas provider, they may be able to provide you with more information such as safety, etc.

-- bardou (, September 22, 1999.

Did she mention how they get supplied with propane?

Here in my valley it arrives by RAIL.

To top it off, it's a petroleum by product.

I love the stuff, because it keeps forever, but BUY A BIG TANK!

-- JIT (, September 22, 1999.

Your contention that propane is a natural gas byproduct and not related to the oil industry isn't entirely correct. Its my understanding that approx half of propane is from petroleum refining operations and the other half is off of nat gas fractionators and production.

-- Downstreamer (, September 22, 1999.

Last year I upgraded from a 50 gal. tank to a 500 gal. tank. Surprisingly I get it for the same low yearly rate - $35.00 (rental). Just need to make sure it is topped off regularly from now on.

Does anyone know about using propane for lighting? From outside tanks I mean.. not those little lanterns. Guess I'd better call my propane dealer. But if anyone has any experience in plumbing propane for wall lights I would appreciate it.

Or do I still need to get the mass quantities of kerosene?

-- Linda (, September 22, 1999.

Here in New England... I had the propane Co. install a waterheater (this was free) and a bigger tank 500 gal (free). This brought my price of gas down to $1.11 from $1.38. This will power the water heater, gas stove, and dryer for 6 months if were carful. Plus saves big $$ on the Elec bill. We get screwed by the power co. (PSHN)with the highest rates in the nation $0.12 - $0.14 a KW)

-- Tom (, September 22, 1999.

Fist to forehead!! Of course....gas lights! Have ALWAYS had them installed in our travel trailers. Work great and very simple. Put tank on porch, pipe through wall to lamp and "let their be light"!! You can buy the lights at any RV place. Wow...thanks for jogging the old brain. I tell you...been at this preparing for two years and still can't think out of the box. What are the sheeple going to do that have a week or a month after the GI?? Can't wait for hubby to get home to spring this one on him. Of course I will take full credit for this wonderful idea. LOL her rocker (like you didn't know that) and up doing a jig!!

-- Taz (, September 22, 1999.

Thanks Taz.. RV places huh? Cool. I've got a couple of Aladdins, but as wonderful as they are having some wall lights would be good too. Aladdins are awkward to carry from room to room. Especially in the kids rooms it would be nice to have something that couldn't tip over.

Glad I could jog your memory so you could give me the info I needed.

-- Linda (, September 23, 1999.

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