Senator Kevin Witkos Works to Increase Access to Fuel During Power Outages

November 3, 2011

Hartford – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) today called on Governor Dannel Malloy to issue an executive order temporarily suspending a state regulation that is limiting access to propane and other essential fuels as state residents continue to cope with widespread power outages.

“In the aftermath of this weekend’s devastating snowstorm and subsequent power outages, I have heard from constituents who cannot find companies to fill their propane tanks due to a state regulation prohibiting anyone other than the tank owner from supplying propane,” wrote Senator Witkos. “Since most propane tanks are leased from the distributor, my constituents’ access to the fuel necessary to heat their homes is severely limited.”

Senator Witkos continued, “Following the power outage on Saturday, many residents have been left without electricity, heat, or even running water. It is essential that these people have access to propane and other fuels to heat their homes and cook their meals. Connecticut Light & Power has announced that all power restoration will be completed by late Sunday night. Today is now Wednesday, meaning Connecticut residents could be left without warmth or cooked meals for four more days, an unacceptable length of time. Freezing temperatures at night have also compounded this problem, and timeliness is of utmost concern.”

The regulation in question is found in the Department of Public Safety’s Liquified Petroleum Gas and Liquified Natural Gas Code under Section 29-331-5, Chapter 4-2.2 titled “Cylinders or Tanks to be Filled, Evacuated, Disconnected or Transported and Disconnecting Regulator(s).” This section states that “Cylinders or tanks shall be filled, evacuated, disconnected or transported and regulator(s) disconnected only by the owner or upon the owner’s authorization.” Without this authorization, customers would be left without propane if a distributor is too busy responding to requests for refills or recovering from the loss of power.

Senator Witkos is a ranking member on the Energy and Technology Committee.