With propane in short supply and Tennessee bracing for another arctic cold snap, Governor Bill Haslam has issued an Executive Order that should speed up propane delivery over the next few days.
The State of Emergency declaration means truckers hauling propane in Tennessee are now allowed to exceed federal limits on the amount of time they spend on the road. Currently, those regulations restrict propane drivers to 70 hours per week, with no more than 11 hours on the road at a time. They must also leave 10 consecutive hours between shifts.
“This has been a hard winter already for many home and business owners in Tennessee,” Haslam said in a statement released Tuesday. “This executive order will help families, farmers and businesses get the necessary energy resources to stay warm, stay open and keep operating.”
Heavy demand in the Northeast and Midwest and an inability to transport it quickly is trickling down to states like Tennessee, says Andy Redus of the Tennessee Propane Gas Association. "It's as bad as I've seen it in 35 years," Redus tells WUOT News. "But everything's going to be fine. It's not the end of the world."
Tennessee is one of several states to ease the trucking restrictions in an effort to head off increased demand.
The Tennessee Propane Gas Association estimates 120,000 Tennesseans heat their homes primarily with propane. Redus says all of those customers live in rural areas beyond the reach of natural gas lines. Nationwide, more than 14 million Americans use propane to heat their homes, according to the Propane Education and Research Council.
The National Weather Service is for the Knoxville area through Friday. Nighttime lows are expected to fall into the teens and single digits.