A propane shortage in Eastern Ontario is something people in Western Canada should keep an eye on, says a Liberal MP.
Geoff Reagan says since December of 2012, propane in eastern Ontario has skyrocketed from about 62 cents per litre to the current $1.10.
Reagan says the cold weather is obviously partly to blame but his research also indicates exports to the U.S. may be part of the problem.
Reports out of the United States indicate farmers in the Midwest have a bumper crop of corn this year.
The only problem is heavy rains are making this crop damp and as a result the race is on to find propane to power the giant ovens that dry it out and prevent the corn from rotting.
Whatever the causes of the rapid propane price increases may be, Reagan says the situation needs to be examined by a proper authority.
“I think it’s something parliament should investigate,” he says.
He has put forward a motion to the natural resources committee asking it to study the price increases.
The propane price spikes appear to be confined to parts of Ontario and a few territories east.
In an email to MBC News, the Canadian Propane Association responded, “At this time, the Canadian Propane Association (CPA) recognizes that this is an isolated situation and does not affect the industry as a whole. Propane retailers are working very hard to ensure that propane is available to all customers, and the CPA continues to monitor events closely. These disruptions are expected to be short-term and are expected to ease in the short-term.”
Reagan says the CPA response provides little comfort to the thousands of homeowners in southern Manitoba who found themselves without power after a pipeline explosion over the weekend knocked out natural gas.
“You hear about what’s happening in Manitoba where you had a natural gas line explode and there isn’t a redundancy there to make sure people can still be served so we see a similar kind of problem for different reasons perhaps in the West as well.”
Many citizens were forced to leave their homes for a few days until crews fixed the line.
Reagan says since propane is used as a source of power by many rural residents living in isolated communities, the situation could be particularly dire for them if something were to affect the supply.