For the week beginning Feb. 22, propane prices fell with several Hill suppliers, reflecting market conditions, and held steady for others who responded by deadline.
As we have previously reported, propane prices can vary daily and are based on “spot prices” at refinery points of production. Three companies of the six who supply the Hill are locally or regionally owned (AC Propane, Diamond Valley Propane and SoCal Propane) and three are national companies with local or regional offices (Amerigas, Ferrellgas and Suburban Propane.)
For this week, AC Propane’s price-per-gallon fell to $1.79 (from $1.99 two weeks ago); Diamond Valley also fell to $1.97, or $1.77 to fill a customer-owned tank (from $2.20 and $2, respectively); and SoCal also fell to $2.11, or $1.91 to fill a customer-owned tank (from $2.24 and $1.94, respectively).
Amerigas held steady at $1.99 per gallon as part of its community pricing plan. We verified with Amerigas manager in Temecula, Stefan Moyè, that the company is not setting new tanks on the Hill. Moyè explained this a temporary halt and that he has requested more infrastructure support in order to better serve Hill communities. “Until we have added resources, we cannot service the area as responsibly as we would like,” said Moyè. He noted that once those resources are in place, his office could begin setting new tanks.
“We have to make sure we can make the commitment and provide service responsibly,” he said. He noted the requests for additional equipment and resources are in progress. He added, however, that as long as weather conditions remain mild, his office could possibly set new tanks on a case-by-case basis. “By next winter, we should be able to answer all requests for new service,” he said.
Moyè said he would continue to be available to answer press questions about pricing and service.
With both Suburban and Ferrellgas, it proved difficult to obtain the same pricing information that both companies had supplied for our two previous reports. At Suburban, the customer representative who answered the phone said she had been told by her manager to answer “no comment,” to pricing inquiries from the Town Crier. The local manager Jeff, who would not give his last name, said all further inquiries must go to Pete Teshima, Suburban vice president of Marketing and Communications in New Jersey.
Teshima, reached by phone early Tuesday morning, Feb. 23, said he would check into the situation and return the call (but not necessarily before deadline). He was told that the local Suburban office had previously supplied pricing, just as other Hill companies have been doing, but now refused to do so.
Similarly at Ferrellgas, the customer representative who answered the phone was only able to give pricing for first fill, $1.74 per gallon, and $2.19 for subsequent fills for members of the Idyllwild Property Owners Association. She said she was unable to quote a “flat rate” price for continuing customers who were not members of POA, and referred our call to Brandy, the office manager. A voice message was left for Brandy but as of deadline she had not responded.
We will continue this series in two weeks to both update pricing and report pertinent information not available prior to this week’s deadline.