DATCP Offers Buying Tips for Propane
July 17, 2014
Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Senior
Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Jim Dick, Communications Director,
MADISON – With summer in full swing, winter heating options are the last thing
on the mind of most consumers. But energy experts are advising consumers to
plan ahead for their propane needs this winter by looking at options now and
buying early. To assist Wisconsin consumers, DATCP is offering a new fact sheet
explaining propane options, including questions to ask when comparing offers.
“Propane suppliers offer a wide variety of pricing
agreements and delivery options, and consumers are more likely to get a better
price when they buy early,” said Sandy Chalmers, Administrator of Trade and
Consumer Protection. “Research options, ask questions, and get everything in
The new DATCP fact sheet includes background on common
delivery options and pricing structures to help consumers weigh their options
when buying propane. It also includes key questions for the consumer to ask,
aimed at allowing the consumer to compare contracts. Download the fact sheet
from the DATCP website (http://datcp.wi.gov/uploads/Consumer/pdf/PropaneConsumerTips500.pdf)
or request a copy by mail by calling 1-800-422-7128.
“The propane contract sets the terms of the agreement
between a propane marketer and a consumer, so make sure you read and understand
the terms of the contract before you sign,” said Chalmers. “Pay special attention
to provisions on added fees and surcharges and how credits and refunds will be
Other tips to consider include:
Pricing agreements. Budget plans, pre-pay plans, and fixed-price plans can
offer consumers savings when compared to buying at market price. Knowing your
tank size and your typical propane usage can help you get the best price and
avoid over- or under-buying. If you use up your contracted amount before the
end of the season, you may have to pay the market price for additional propane.
If you overbuy, your retail marketer may
credit your account for the following year, depending on the terms of your
Delivery arrangements. Some
retail marketers offer to deliver propane automatically to refill your tank.
Others allow you to monitor your usage and call when you need a delivery. Make
sure you know how much advance time your retail marketer needs to schedule a
Ask about fees and other
charges. When you compare between retail marketers, don’t ask only
about per-gallon cost. Retail marketers may charge a variety of add-on fees,
including trip fees, after-hours delivery charges, weekend fees, partial fills
and inspection fees. Those fees can have a major impact on your total
Get a signed and dated
contract and keep copies of receipts for at least a year. No matter
what kind of agreement you reach, a written contract sets out the rights and
responsibilities of both the buyer and seller. Receipts are handy to have if
there is a dispute between you and your propane supplier.
For additional information or to file a complaint, visit
the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, call the Consumer
Information Hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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