warm thoughts

From Pat Thornton, Publisher

patIn addition to publishing ‘Trending in Propane’ each week, I do a variety of contract projects in the propane gas industry. One of the most interesting projects has been custom phone surveys of customers throughout the propane industry. Whether for a State PERC, a large corporation or a small retail operation, it is always worthwhile to learn what customers have to say. They will often be a little more candid when talking to a third party rather than a staff member of the company being discussed.

There is plenty that can be learned from a sample of customer discussion. What is their perception of your company? Do they know of and understand all of the offerings and benefits you have to offer? Is there a significant concern some customers have regarding your company services? What aspects of your company do they appreciate most?

With a respect of the customer’s time, a limited number of key questions is recommended. Often though, customers will want to share some specific information or detail some thoughts they have regarding their experience with your company. These details can be very useful in understanding a customer’s point of view and their thought processes. The fact that you are even conducting a survey shows you want to have the best company you can.

A good survey should not be (but often is) about trying to craft results to make the company look good to corporate leaders. It should be about truly learning what is on people’s minds and using the results to further improve the customer experience.

If you would like to discuss a confidential survey of customers for your business or organization, please contact me at 913-909-7917 or thorntonpat@rocketmail.com. By the way, I always welcome your thoughts and ideas on ‘Trending in Propane!’

Participate in Gray, Gray & Gray’s 2023 Energy & Propane Industry Survey


We are excited to announce that our 32nd annual Energy Industry Survey is now open. We are pleased to bring you a streamlined 2023 survey that will continue to provide companies like yours with key benchmarking data for their present and future success.

What’s changed? We have created a more efficient survey experience which you should be able to complete in just 15 minutes, while still providing the important benefits of helping to establish the most up-to-date industry benchmarks and the standards by which company performance is measured. Plus, you’ll notice an increased focus on two important and timely topics – workforce development and key business concerns, such as electrification.

As always, YOUR thoughtful responses will help us to develop a “snapshot” of the retail oil and propane industry, assisting you with measuring the growth and development of your business.

Please complete this year’s survey with information from your company’s April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023 results.

Submission Deadline: June 27, 2023

Gray, Gray & Gray has once again partnered with Angus Energy, a respected energy services firm. Data collected through this year’s survey will be augmented by financial and operational data developed by Angus Energy. Additionally, our new partnership with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) will help supplement our survey findings and maximize benchmarking abilities to assist companies in planning for the future.

Note: While completing the survey, you can save your responses by clicking the “Next” button on each page. Click the “Done” button on the final survey page to submit your responses.

The link to the survey is here.

NEW MILFORD, Conn. – Cetane Associates is pleased to announce that Trey Brasseaux has joined its financial advisory firm as an Associate, effective May 15, 2023. Trey brings more than six years of client advisory experience in financial roles with professional services businesses. His background includes working with an independent investment bank and a leading advisory firm focused on the energy industry.

Prior to joining Cetane Associates, Trey Brasseaux most recently worked as an Associate at J Wolf and Company, an independent investment bank centered on raising capital for acquisitions in the lower middle market. His role supported the engagements through financial modeling and analysis, as well as collaborating with clients. For the five years before his tenure at J Wolf, Trey worked in Houston at Opportune LLP, a consulting firm specializing in the energy industry. Trey worked across the finance/accounting service lines as part of the corporate finance team and was steadily promoted from Consultant to Senior Consultant and then to Manager. His experience includes engagements in Opportune’s investment banking, valuation, restructuring, due diligence, and complex financial reporting practices. His clients included both private and public energy companies in upstream, midstream, downstream, and minerals.

Trey holds Bachelors degrees in Business Honors and Finance and a Master of Financial Management degree from Texas A&M University. Additionally, he holds FINRA Series 79 and 63 licenses (registered with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). A native Houstonian, Trey and his wife live in Houston where he supports the Aggies and other local sports teams and enjoys golf, exercise, and landscaping.

Barrett Conway, Managing Director and Principal of Cetane commented “Bringing Trey onboard is great for our team, our clients, and our process. His extensive education, training, and experience are perfect fits for the financial advisory, acquisitions, and M&A services we provide our clients across the country. In addition to his strong financial skills, he lends his friendly, winning communication style to our team.”

About Cetane Associates

Cetane is a leading provider of financial advisory services to business owners in the home services industries. Clients engage Cetane to advise on sales, spin-offs, and acquisitions, as well as perform valuation and ad hoc corporate finance assignments. For more information, please visit www.Cetane.com

‘Trending in Propane’ will periodically share used items for sale from various retailers. Here are some items from Jordy Anderson who recently sold his Ohio business. His contact information is below.

-Kosan Chrisplan filling carousel 18 station carousel with 12 load cells. Automatic loader and unloader
-Complete hardware and software computer system
-Valve opening station
-Valve closing station with leak detector, and auto rejection check scale
-LS Industries wash cabinet with Electric water heater
-Auto Gas pump 15Hp
-Propane Hazard Alarm System
-Viking shot blast cabinet
-Compressor used for cylinder evacuation
-I also have a 55KW Onan generator can be wired for single or 3 phase. Generator has 250 hours on it, runs on liquid propane. I bought it freshly rebuilt with a 2 year warranty, 16 months ago

All of the equipment is currently in 2-53′ box trailers in Ohio. I’m just getting rid of because I’ve sold my company. Just want to get a offer on everything and sell it all as is.
Contact: Jordy Anderson, 740-624-6843 or jordyanderson1075@gmail.com

If you would like to advertise used items in ‘Trending in Propane,” please contact Pat Thornton, Publisher, at 913-909-7917 or thorntonpat@rocketmail.com.

Port Newark Container Terminal emissions data shows propane far surpasses diesel in terminal tractor emissions reduction

WASHINGTON – New data released from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) shows propane-powered terminal tractors are significantly cleaner than their diesel counterparts in several key emissions reduction areas.

In recent testing at PNCT, researchers collected emissions data from a MAFI-manufactured propane terminal tractor and Tier 4 diesel technologies. The results confirm the propane-powered tractor yielded 99 percent fewer nitrogen oxide (NOx) composite and idle emissions than either diesel tractor. Additionally, the propane tractor produced 77.5 percent fewer THC idle emissions, 14 percent fewer brake-specific carbon dioxide emissions, and 75 percent fewer TPM emissions than the diesel tractors.

MAFI’s propane tractor is powered by Power Solutions International’s (PSI) 8.8-liter propane engine, which is over 90 percent cleaner than mandated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards and certified to the optional ultra-low NOx emissions standard as defined by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for heavy-duty engines with .02 grams of per brake horsepower. Plus, the propane engine competes with diesel engines on performance, providing 270 horsepower with 565 lb-ft of torque.

“This near-zero emissions technology terminal tractor is available now for an affordable price,” said Gavin Hale, vice president of business development at the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “Propane technology adoptions are continuing to grow at ports, terminals, and warehouses throughout the country to eliminate diesel emissions and make significant strides toward greenhouse gas reduction.”

Not only are propane-powered terminal tractors cost effective, there is also grant money available through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) to support the transition to clean propane-powered fleet technology. This includes terminal tractors, propane autogas fleet vehicles, and energy production technology.

To learn more about propane-powered terminal tractors, visit Propane.com/Ports.

From the Propane Gas Association of New England

Bonny Eagle Schools Grand Opening of the Largest School Bus Refueling Station in Maine Makes History with Renewable Propane!

PGANE member Pitstop Fuels/Stone Road Energy hosted a grand opening celebration of the largest propane Autogas school bus dispenser in Maine on May 12th. Tucker Perkins, President and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council, joined PGANE leaders as well as leaders from Bonny Eagle Schools.

This occasion also marked the first delivery of renewable propane into the state of Maine!

Ray Energy delivered a 5% renewable propane blend to fuel the Bonny Eagle propane school buses. This use of renewable propane in school buses, means that Maine students are the first ones east of the Rocky Mountains to transport students to school with renewable propane.

Bonny Eagle MSAD #5 is leading by example, at the forefront of Maine’s energy initiative commitment to educating and engaging Mainers to choose clean energy options. PGANE congratulates Pitstop Fuels/Stone Road Energy on their leadership and initiative!

“PGANE has the most innovative members, and I am so proud to lead this association. I put out a challenge to introduce renewable propane in every New England state, and Stone Road Energy and Ray Energy go above and beyond, and put renewable propane in the first school bus east of the rocky mountains, making Maine the third state in the nation to use renewable propane in school transportation!” said Leslie Anderson, President and CEO of PGANE.

Showcase your latest scientific developments on production of renewable Liquid Gases at the very first Global Science Conference (GSC2023)

    LPG Week 2023/Rome marks the inaugural GLOBAL SCIENCE CONFERENCE (GSC), bringing together research scientists from both academia and industry.

    GSC is designed to provide a platform with a selection of exceptional innovators for the presentation of cutting-edge advancements from academic institutions, research establishments, and developers from around the world on production pathways of renewable Liquid Gases.

    GSC will take stage during LPG Week in Rome on Friday, 17th November 2023.

    Be part of GSC and a catch a glimpse at the early-stage ideas and scientific breakthroughs shaping the LPG industry with world-class scientists and a 200+ audience.

    Compete for the WLPGA GSC Awards

    The WLPGA GSC Award will be given to the most outstanding scientific contribution selected from the papers presented in Rome.

    An additional award will also honour contributions from an early-stage researcher (under 35 on the conference day).

    With a wealth of benefits to the winners, this is the opportunity to showcase a paper and take home the ultimate prize in LPG science.

    Submit your paper to GSC2023 in three steps

    Take the chance to present your paper at GSC2023. The countdown to GSC is On!

    Think of your most recent scientific development on renewable Liquid Gases production, renewable LPG and renewable DME
    Describe how it can enhance the LPG industry
    Complete the abstract and submit it
    Explore some examples of topics that might be presented in the submission guidelines.

    Abstracts will be reviewed by the WLPGA Global Science Council based on scientific content with an emphasis on the potential contribution to the LPG industry.

    Click here for Full Guidelines and Submission

From the National Propane Gas Association Bobtail

On May 8, NPGA submitted a comment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in response to their Request for Information on Chronic Hazards Associated with Gas Ranges and Proposed Solutions. NPGA explained that the “Chronic Hazards” suggested did not exist in fact, and provided over 200 pages of research to support this argument. NPGA coordinated its response with leaders from other trade associations, many of whom will be joining NPGA at Propane Days for our panel on gas stoves. For additional information, questions, or concerns, please contact NPGA General Counsel Benjamin Nussdorf at bnussdorf.org.

From the National Propane Gas Association Bobtail

Last week, the New York Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul reached an agreement on the state’s budget for State Fiscal Year 2023-24. The budget amends the state construction building code and prohibits the installation of fossil fuel equipment in most newly constructed buildings beginning in 2026 for structures less than seven stories in height, and 2029 for all remaining applicable building stock. It also lays the framework for a cap-and-invest program (i.e., carbon market) whereby total state greenhouse gas emissions would be capped, and emission allowances would be purchased by covered entities. Taken together, these provisions will greatly impact the future marketplace for thermal fuels, including propane.

Bill Overbaugh, Executive Director of the New York Propane Gas Association (NYPGA), has been engaged with legislators and governor’s office since these concepts were first proposed following passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019. “The recent gas ban on new construction and carbon tax were both setbacks in our legislative efforts. But there was also a major win in delaying the implementation date two years. This is a clear indication that the governor and legislature have heard our message and acknowledge that the majority of New Yorkers are not ready for such a drastic, expensive and unpredictable change in such a short period of time,” Overbaugh said. “The bill also includes carve outs for buildings that are inherently difficult to electrify or have a high need to maintain reliability, such as hospitals, industrial buildings and crematoriums. This shows us a potential path forward for our fuel. NYPGA looks forward to continuing our efforts to educate consumers and lawmakers on the benefits of propane and how propane can fit into the landscape of a cleaner future.”

If you’re interested in materials to counter electrification efforts in your state, please visit the Fight Electrification section on NPGA’s member dashboard. For more information, contact NPGA’s Director of State Affairs, Jacob Peterson at jpeterson@npga.org.

From the National Propane Gas Association Bobtail

NPGA is excited to announce Propane Days 2023 on June 4-7 in Washington, DC. The Capitol and Congressional offices are once again open to the public! This year marks a return to the traditional advocacy day programming, including a federal legislative breakfast and briefing on the association’s top priorities and best practices for Congressional meetings, in-person meetings on Capitol Hill, and a Congressional Reception.

To prepare for Propane Days, NPGA’s Legislative Affairs team will host a webinar on May 23rd at 2:00 PM ET to review best practices for conducting a meeting and discuss our industry’s top federal legislative priorities. This year our advocacy efforts will focus on:

Fighting back against recent government actions to limit consumer choice for energy sources and household appliances, such as stoves, furnaces, and water heaters
Promoting propane storage in rural areas by reducing burdens on propane marketers associated with the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) and providing agriculture producers with low-interest loans for additional propane tanks in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization
Urging Congress to continue to make propane eligible for grants and funding at airports for vehicles and resiliency applications through the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization
Requesting Department of Energy funding for research and development of renewable propane, propane vehicles, microgrids, and combined heat and power in this year’s appropriations bill
Advocating for the Department of Defense to adopt propane-powered backup- and primary-power generation and to initiate a pilot program to adopt propane vehicles at non-combat military facilities in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act
We are very excited to have you join us in Washington, DC and hope to see you at our upcoming webinar. If you have any questions, contact Kate Singleton, NPGA’s Manager of Political and Legislative Affairs, at ksingleton@npga.org. Click here to register for the best practices webinar.

Remember to register for Propane Days and the summer Board of Directors meeting by Friday, May 19 and reserve your hotel accommodations, too! The Renaissance Downtown DC is offering participants a group rate of $299 single/double occupancy, plus tax. The NPGA block rate will be available until Friday, May 12 or until the block is sold out. Reserve online or call 800 228-9290 and request the National Propane Gas Association rate.

State governments and the Biden Administration appear to be putting their finger on the scale in favor of using more electricity and less fossil fuels. Last week, New York was the latest state to make a move; in this case to curtail the use of gas stoves. Despite problems with their electric grid in recent years, the LA Times Editorial Board actually is upset New York beat them to the gas stove legislation.

The LA Times story and a cut from a CNN interview are here. The CNN interview assumes all fossil fuels create more to global warming than electricity regardless of the fossil fuels with larger carbon footprints that are used in creation of the electricity.

An Editorial found here discusses how the New York action is nothing but a green bait and switch.

From the National Propane Gas Association Bobtail

A recently released peer reviewed study published in Global Epidemiology on April 18, 2023, by Li et al, entitled “Gas Cooking and Respiratory Outcomes in Children: A Systematic Review” has concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to demonstrate causal relationships between gas cooking and indoor NO2 and asthma and wheeze in children. The authors systemically reviewed 66 previous epidemiology studies and found that there was generally low study quality and high heterogeneity and highlighted the fact that previous studies have numerous quality flaws, making a meta-analysis inappropriate.

The propane industry proudly provides our customers with low-carbon, clean fuel that provides them with affordable, reliable energy. As an industry, we support evidence-based science in order to provide the public and lawmakers alike with objective facts when choosing which energy source is best for them. For additional information, please contact NPGA’s Manager of State Government Affairs, Austin Wicker at awicker@npga.org.

From the Propane Education & Research Council

The Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo is the “Super Bowl” of North American propane industry events. Hosted yearly by the National Propane Gas Association, Southeast Expo brings together the latest in propane innovations with extensive education and networking opportunities.

This year, the 75th Southeast Expo was held in Nashville, Tennessee and drew a huge crowd of nearly 4,000 attendees and exhibitors. PERC was among those exhibitors, spreading the word about the new PERC mobile app, equipping marketers with educational and environmental materials, holding a giveaway for an RTIC® cooler, and handing out Energy for Everyone-branded swag items.

The star of the show, however, was the New Product Showcase pavilion. Located just across the way from the PERC booth, the New Product Showcase featured five pieces of equipment that highlight propane’s role in providing clean, versatile, and reliable energy to homes and businesses across the country:

• The Wright Stander ZK propane-powered mower from Propane Power Systems is a powerful and eco-friendly solution for lawn care. Its new springless EFI regulator mounted to a Vanguard 37HP EFI engine ensures a consistent fuel supply, reducing emissions and delivering power. Durable and easy to use, this mower is ideal for professionals and homeowners who want a reliable and efficient lawn maintenance experience.

• Enviropower’s SmartWatt boiler is the next-generation heating technology that enables building owners to produce efficient heat, generate free electricity, and enjoy backup power, all in one system. At 95% heating efficiency, the SmartWatt Boiler SW600-6 is one of the most efficient heating solutions for homes and buildings in the market.

• The Hybrid Heat Pump Solution from Rinnai, Bosh, Duramax, and Bindus is a whole-home upgrade solution that will offer homeowners the comfort, reliability, and affordability they desire. The system is powered by a propane tankless water heater or boiler that turns on a circulator pump to provide radiator-quality heat through a central air system, warming homes more efficiently than the strip heat that an individual electric heat pump provides. The system guarantees peace of mind with a year-round comfort solution and contingency plan to combat electric grid failure while saving energy and money and reducing emissions.

• The Juice Box generator from Evergreen Mobile Power is a 25KW, eco-friendly, propane-fueled generator. Featuring patented interchangeable distribution panels, GPS with cell phone smart technology, and on-board hot water heater hookups – with none of the fumes associated with diesel generators – the Juice Box is a smart solution for both indoor and outdoor power generation.

• A Gas Heat Pump Furnace Combi from Anesi and Stone Mountain Technologies replaces both the furnace and the water heater in a propane-powered home. It reduces heating bills by 30-50 percent and is ideal for cold weather heating, operating down to –40°F/C without backup, providing warmth and comfort without any alterations to the home.

As the products in the New Product Showcase demonstrate, propane is a low-carbon energy source that puts us on the path to zero emissions today. Simply swapping diesel for propane in markets like power generation, material handling, and transportation would drastically reduce emissions, both now and in the future. Incorporating propane equipment in residential and commercial uses ensures reliable power, even when the electric grid fails. Additionally, propane partners with and enhances other clean energy sources such as solar and wind to provide environmentally friendly power, and advances in renewable propane will deliver a sustainable energy solution for generations to come.

Learn more about propane’s environmental benefits and all the products that propane can power.

A video showcasing new innovations can be found here.

By Jerry Schimmel of P3 Safety

Let’s face it: Providing service in the propane industry is difficult. Schedules are hectic, technicians don’t love paperwork, and there’s never enough time for training. These barriers result in a shocking error rate in propane safety documentation. Getting back to the job site to correct errors is also a huge challenge. So how do you ensure your technicians get the job done right the first time?

Provide Better Tools for Technicians
By using technology for entry of critical safety documentation, you can:
* Provide clarification and guidance on desired information within form fields.
* Reduce error rate by providing multiple-choice answers instead of blank write-in fields.
* Warn technicians in real time if information is incomplete or if critical operating tests do not meet NFPA code requirements.

Provide Better Tools for Management

Technology allows your management team to:
* Review inspections in real time and provide your field technicians with immediate feedback.
* Put together reporting that specifically identifies individual training opportunities for employees.
* Use Photo Documentation

Photo documentation is critical for three reasons:
1. Documenting that your tank set is NFPA 58 compliant. If there is a catastrophic incident and your word is put up against the homeowners, that is a horrible place to be.
2. In the instance that your original tank set is NFPA 58 compliant, but the homeowner makes a modification that puts the tank set out of compliance, you have documentation that it was compliant when you installed it.
3. It provides detailed, visual information for training purposes, which can help you to offer feedback and coaching immediately.

Chris Caywood discusses environmental messaging strategy with Pat Thornton.