BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.–Berkeley Propane Company is experiencing a historically high request for propane this winter, according to spokesperson Lisa Stilley.
Beginning late December, the requests for tank fills tripled in volume which added to an existing backlog of providing service to our consumers that has grown beyond a reasonable amount of time.
“We are doing everything in our power to rectify and gain ground,” stated Stilley. “The situation worsened when the snow and ice shut down deliveries for almost a week.”
Currently, Berkeley Propane has approximately 670 orders for tank refills. Representatives for the company have confirmed that they are fully staffed and trucks are running seven days a week.
“Between the three trucks, our drivers are able to fill approximately 40 tanks per day. However, due to the continuing cold weather, Berkeley Propane has been receiving around 25 new requests a day in addition to the existing orders,” stated Stilley.
According to the company, while it would like to retain its customers, it understands that their customers’ safety and need for heat comes first. They have included additional Berkeley Electric Cooperative assistance in answering the large volume of calls to Berkeley Propane.
Although Berkeley Propane Company reps say they have offered to allow other companies to fill tank requests, this is not occurring due to liability concerns and the fact that the other companies are fully engaged in servicing their own customers. However, if a member owns their own tank, they are free to have any company that will service them come out and fill their tank, reps stated.
Other options include; (a) wait as we attempt to gain ground as we implement additional resources and time-saving processes to complete more daily fills. (b) the customer can switch service providers and allow them to take over the service, (c) the customer can purchase the tank. The liability and maintenance of the tank will transfer to the new owner and we will provide a letter of release to where they can contract any provider to fill the tank.
Berkeley Propane currently serves just over 4,000 accounts and has, up until now, been able to serve the needs of its members with existing resources.
“Unfortunately, a combination of factors began late fall that have worked into an extremely difficult situation as high demand from colder than normal weather coupled with the roads being shut down by the winter storm created a situation beyond our control,” stated Stilley. “We are taking full responsibility and are doing everything possible to meet our customers’ needs and sincerely apologize for this unfortunate situation.”
Berkeley Propane is wholly owned by Berkeley Enterprises LLC, a Subsidiary of Berkeley Electric Cooperative.