Energy Emergency declared for Ohio - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Energy Emergency declared for Ohio

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MEDINA, OH (WOIO) -

Cranking the heat to knock off the arctic blast has sent the state's propane and heating oil levels plummeting into a state of emergency.

Governor John Kasich issued the declaration of "Energy Emergency".

Robert Murton of rural Medina, has only five percent propane left in his tank.

When he called his propane company they told him a timeline for a refill is uncertain.

"They told me with the shortage, at least here in Medina, that they're not sure exactly when they're going to be able to come out and fill it up for us. And they're only doing partial fills right now for everybody," Murton explained.

The problem is Ohio got hit by the perfect storm this fall and winter.

A lot of Ohio's propane was shipped to the Northwest to dry crops in the fall.

Then the coldest snowiest December in Ohio history pushed propane usage way up and a pipeline shut-down for repairs.

All of the environmental elements have caused Governor Kasich to lift all restrictions on the hours that propane truck drivers can spend behind the wheel.

The solution sounds risky, but according to industry leaders this type of move happens during nearly every Midwest winter.

The only exception was last year because of the mild temperatures.  

"We've never had a propane accident that I can recall based on drivers not having restrictions on hours," said David Field, Executive Vice President of Ohio Propane Gas Association.

The suspension of restrictive driver's hours only lasts for 30 days.

The old rules said a driver must rest for 10 consecutive hours after driving no more than 14.

The Governor has waived that as long as the transport is deemed safe, and the driver is well rested.

The hope is to replenish Ohio's propane stock and to keep heat on for those like Murton.  

"It's kind of a wait and see and just hope they get out here within the next day or two. I've heard stories of people waiting two three weeks," Murton added. 

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