Families Taking Drastic Actions During Propane Shortage - WBAY

Families Taking Drastic Actions During Propane Shortage

Updated:
Marinette County -

Families who rely on propane for everything from heating their homes to cooking desperately hope the shortage will end soon.

Bao Vang spent the day in the northwoods to learn how some have had to adjust.

The Baldwin children in Silver Cliff aren't usually so bundled up inside.

"Normally they're barefoot. They've got socks on, we've got a hat on the baby," says Michelle Baldwin.

The mom of five had to turn down the thermostat so the furnace doesn't kick in and borrow a space heater from her parents.

Right now, they're one of many families running out of propane blamed on an industry shortage.

If you're wondering just how serious the propane shortage is in our area, according to the gauge on the Baldwin's 500 gallon tank, it's only 7 percent full.

In the midst of their busy lives, they hadn't noticed their supplier hadn't come for awhile.

"When I heard 7 percent I about choked. Really 7 percent, huh? And I thought about it, there's only so much we could shut off," Michelle said.

The Baldwin children also know not to use the hot water.

"We just use cold water and are microwaving it," said Baldwin. "We took showers at my parents."

Down the road in Silver Cliff, 79-year-old Alverda Ploeckelman's propane tank is down to 8 percent. Unlike the Baldwins, she has a wood burning fireplace to help heat her home. But keeping it going has been a chore, considering she suffers from a disease that affects her bones and the wood is kept outside.

"I have to get up three to four times a night," says Ploeckelman. "And I got my walker. But I'm so scared of falling again." Last weekend, Ploeckelman fell inside her home and was found by her son 74 hours later.

Ploeckelman refuses to pay the increased prices some other suppliers are now charging and will wait for her company to fill her up.

The Baldwins can't wait. They found one supplier, but they must order a minimum of 150 gallons at $2.99 each gallon, more than twice their contracted price. It's not expected to arrive until another eight to 10 days.

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