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How Do I Choose a Propane Company?

Quite often, people are faced with selecting a propane company to provide them with service in some capacity. This generally occurs before a house is built or after moving into an existing house that uses propane as an energy source. The following thoughts and recommendations will hopefully help consumers find a propane company that will take care of their needs and safety resulting a long term relationship. A relationship with a propane company is a personal one, unlike that with a public utility. Propane users actually get to know the person providing their service.

Selecting a Propane Company

Although choosing a company to provide propane service or buy parts and supplies might seem simple, it actually deserves some thought. When choosing a cell phone provider, you may look at price but most would agree that coverage and clarity are far more important. Would you sign up for phone, internet or cable television service knowing that the company can guarantee 85 or 90% uptime? Would you do this at your place of business? Propane companies fall into a somewhat similar category but there's a lot more riding on it besides their reputation. The safety and well being of you and your family is at issue as well. So if you're thumbing through the phone book or looking on the internet for a propane company in your area, consider the following.

  1. Safety Record - Ask the company about their safety record and safety programs. They should be able to offer references, such as regulatory agencies that will attest to their safety record as well as any safety programs they are enrolled in or perform within their organization.
  2. Regulatory Agencies - Each state has an agency regulating its propane industry. These agencies and regulatory commissions oversee all activities regarding the LP Gas industry within their respective state. Although state regulators probably can't recommend any particular propane company, they may be able to provide information about safety records and compliance if requested.
  3. NPGA and State Propane Gas Associations - Association memberships ensure that the propane company stays up to date and informed about safety issues and compliance within the propane industry.
  4. Company Policies - Ask about any policies such as out of gas procedures, service fees or pricing structures that may better work with your budget or give you peace of mind.
  5. Better Business Bureau - The BBB is an excellent source of information to find out about company history and reputation.

The very best advice is to choose a company based on their references, reputation and safety record...not solely their price. Your safety and that of your family depends on it. What if your insurance company was reliable only 85% of the time? Choose your propane supplier wisely.