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Homeowners Struggle to Stay Warm as Propane Prices Hike

APPLETON CITY, Mo. -- People who use propane to heat their homes are struggling to pay for the gas with the recent price hike.
APPLETON CITY, Mo. -- Propane prices continue to rise, affecting more and more people in the Ozarks.

Missouri lawmakers are calling on Attorney General Chris Koster to investigate the steep increase of propane gas prices this week.

KOLR10 News spoke to one family that lives just outside of Appleton City.  The family members say they're having to freeze because they just can't afford the gas.

The family says they've spent $1,400 on propane since November.  With prices still going up, they can't afford the heat they depend on to stay warm inside their own home.

"It's just not feasible for us to pay this kind of money," says Mary Carter, who uses propane to heat her home and cook.  "Propane just keeps going up, up, up and up and if you're on a limited income, you're gonna freeze your boots off because there's just no way to afford it."

The propane shortage is bringing with it a cost that some Missouri homeowners say is ruining their livelihoods.

"It's just terrible," Carter says.  "It is a necessity and when you're on social security and that doesn't go very far, I mean, it's just a mess."

A mess that's causing the couple to freeze inside their own home.

"We've had to borrow electric heaters," Carter says.  "We've got three infra-reds in here and one halogen we are trying to heat with and it's still cold in there."

The couple used to fill their 525 gallon tank with 200 gallons of propane gas at a time, but because of the price hike, they can't even afford 100 gallons.

"We are gonna freeze, there's no way about it," says Carter.  "100 gallons has been lasting a week and a half and right now that's 500 bucks.  Just since November, we have used $1,400 worth of propane."

On a limited income, they say they just can't afford it anymore.

"They won't bring us any now until we get paid again and can pay them," Carter says.  "They won't bring us anymore gas."

Officials with the Missouri Propane Gas Association say the shortage links back to September and may be a function of the marketplace.

"Certainly we don't think this will last into the future very long because propane is plentiful," says Missouri Propane Gas Association Executive Director Steve Ahrens.  "But this is a hiccup that started with a miscalculation in late fall."

As for Mary and her husband, they're just hoping to see some relief so they can once again escape the frigid temps outside, in the warmth of their own home.

"It just seems unbelievable to me," says Carter.  "I don't know who is repsonsible for it, but I hope they wake up and see that people cannot live like this."

Ahrens tells us a major propane producer named "Enterprise Products" announced Friday that it's sending a priority batch of propane up a pipeline, including some tank loads to the midwest, to hopefully help ease the shortage.

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