Dodge Co. issues state of emergency due to propane shortage

DODGE COUNTY (WITI) -- Dodge County has declared a state of emergency due to the state's propane shortage. Through all of Wisconsin, about 250,000 families rely on propane to heat their homes. Others depend on it to make a living, and rising prices due to the shortage is creating a major challenge.

Dave Roskopf uses propane to heat the floors, and to have hot water at his farm outside of Juneau in Dodge County.

"If the concrete would freeze, the cows would slip. It`s very essential. If we can`t milk the cows, or if our lines freeze up, we have no income then. So we need (propane) to keep the systems working," Roskopf said.

Like many others who use propane, Roskopf says his provider told him they can only fill his tank to 50 percent due to the shortage.

Now, he's paying full-tank prices for half the product.

"Before, it was right around $1.89 per gallon and right now, it`s around $4 a gallon," Roskopf said.

Amy Nehls, the director of Dodge County's emergency management says based on her talks with various providers, it seems like a triple-headed monster has caused the crisis.

"The farmers had a very wet harvest, so they used a lot of propane drying off the crops before they could sell them. We did have one of the propane lines, or distribution lines was down in December, and honestly, it`s been a very cold winter, we all know that," Nehls said.

Although Gov. Scott Walker declared a statewide emergency last week, Nehls wanted to drive home the point.

"This was just to make our citizens aware that Dodge County does have citizens affected by this. We may have to use local resources and/or funds to help those citizens," Nehls said.

Roskopf says he's fine for now, but is still asking for help from Mother Nature.

"If it warms up a little bit, into the 30s, we`ll go through half as much (propane) as we do right now," Roskopf said.

Dodge County is one of 18 counties in the state that have a contract with a non-profit called Energy Services, which helps get people assistance with their heating bills.

If you'd like to apply, call 1-800-506-5596.