Propane delimma..

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Qwispea, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    I lease a 500 gal. propane tank from a local propane company (Company Sad)!

    Company Sad has current price of $2.09 a gallon ..a lock-in price of $2.14 a gallon ..and a pre-buy price of $2.04 a gallon. They are the highest in the entire area.

    Other propane suppliers in the area range from a low of 1.49 a gallon current price ..1.49 a gallon lock-in price ..and $1.59 a gallon for pre-buy.

    I decided to lock in until next May 2007 with another company at $1.49 a gallon.(Company Happy).

    So ..I called Company Sad and asked them what the procedure was for getting them to remove their tank (so that I could have Company Happy install their tank).
    Company Sad told me that they'd have to pump it out to 5% or less ..and they charge $100 to pump out (tank is currently 50% full). Then ..they'd reimburse me the difference from the amount of fuel in the tank.

    As expected ..I wasn't thrilled with having to pay $100 to have the tank pumped out ..so I called Company Happy ..and told them my dilemma. Company Happy said "No problem ..we can pump it out for you free and transfer it to our tank ..providing they give us permission to do it".

    So ..I called Company Sad and asked them if we could get their permission to have Company Happy pump it out.
    Well ..Company Sad got a bit rude ..said it was "illegal to have another company pump out propane from their tank" ..said they "don't even understand why Company F would suggest such a thing since it was illegal" ..and he proceeded to exclaim that he "didn't appreciate the other company suggesting such a thing since he wouldn't do it to them".

    So ..I called Company Happy back ..and they told me it was "NOT illegal" ..but they did "have to have Company P's permission". So ..I asked Company Happy if they'd just come and drop their tank and fill it at $1.49 a gallon ..and I'd just leave Company Sad's tank there and not use it. I said the propane left in that tank is paid for ..and if it has to sit there for several years ..no problem on my part. They were very cooperative and they said they'd be more than happy to deliver and install their tank. We agreed ..and they took credit information from me over the phone. Then Company Happy said they'd also call Company Sad and ask why they told me it was illegal when it isn't ..and relay the information back to me.

    So ..an hour later ..I called Company Happy back and asked what Company Sad's response was when they called them.
    Well ..suddenly Company Happy said there were 'further developments ..and that Company Happy has maintained a good relationship with Company Sad over the years ..and they didn't want to do anything to harm their working relationship.
    So ..now Company Happy won't install their own tank on my property as long as Company Sad's tank is here.
    Company Happy originally said they would ..we agreed ..they took credit information and everything ..and now suddenly after apparently talking with Company Sad ..now Company Happy won't do what they told me they would do.

    I wonder how Company Sad can refuse to have another legal reputable company pump my own propane out of their tank when its on my property? If there were some unreasonable danger ..I could understand that. But to refuse to allow it just because they want to charge me $100 ..I think something is seriously wrong with that. I also think its collusion on somebody's part where one company was willing to work with me ..but immediately after talking with the other company ..now they won't.

    I use about 1200 gallons of propane a year. The difference between $2.09 a gallon and $1.49 a gallon is 60 cents a gallon (at 1200 gallons that equals a savings of $720 a year.) So we are not talking about just a couple dollars here. Its enough to make it highly worthwhile.
    It just seems unreasonable that one propane company is willing to pump out the tank for free ..but the other company won't give their permission because they want to charge me $100.
    I think that is highly unethical.

    Since it is propane ..and probably under some kind of regulatory law ..is there some kind of regulatory agency that can stand up to unethical practices such as that?
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I think they were honest when they said that Company B doesn't want to step on the toes of Company A. These companies are in the same area, and they don't want to be perceived as 'poaching' each other's customers.

    I don't think there's any illegal activity here.
     

  3. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    If you lease the tank from company A you can only buy gas from company A
    simple cure Buy your own tank . then you can buy from whom ever you choose .
    500 or 1000 gallon tanks can be found for around a dollar a gallon
    check with Company B they may know where you can get one . or ask other companies in the area.
    We put a request on a radio buy sell show and got ours the Coop even loaned us a special trailor to haul it . Moving one these days requires a DOT licensed driver with hazmat.
     
  4. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    Yes ..but wouldn't offering NEW customers a special price of $1.49 a gallon be the real "poaching" ..and then when the potential customer 'bites' as expected ..why not fully cooperate when the customer has already obviously made the decision?

    Indeed ..my decision was made as soon as Company Happy offered me a special price at 60 cents per gallon lower than Company Sad offered. After that ..all I was hoping for was a bit of cooperation from Company Sad.
    Unfortunately ..Company Sad is being uncooperative ..and it appears as if Company Sad may have had something to do with Company Happy changing their mind.
    I'm not saying that's illegal ..but it sure isn't ethical!
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I think they were looking for new customers who had their own tanks and hadn't contracted propane for the coming winter.

    You might want to drag out your contract with the company that owns your tank. I bet this issue is covered.
     
  6. Southernman

    Southernman Well-Known Member

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    The Railroad Commission controls all propane activity. Now that being said, just because your not happy with the response does not mean they will help you out. They mearly control the transport and use. The 5% rule is the same here in Texas, but there are ways around it that I wont post. Best I can suggest is contact company #3 and tell them you want them to set you a tank, wouldn't mention company sad's tank is there, service tech will show up with new tank and move it outa the way. Then call company sad and tell them to come get their tank.
     
  7. gottahaveagoat

    gottahaveagoat Well-Known Member

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    I worked for a Propane company for years and it is NOT illegal to pump it out but they do like getting permission. It just keeps everyone happy if they are in the same town. Find another company that will do it. OR use what is there then get another company then you are out no money. I would not pay to have it done.
     
  8. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    In Michigan ..a company owned tank can be filled up or pumped out by any supplier ..as long as the company that owns the tank gives their permission.

    The problem is ..Company Sad will lock me in at a very high $2.14 ..while Company Happy will lock me in at a low of $1.49.
    Since Company Sad is 65 cents higher ..I want Company Sad's tank off my property! But Company Sad insists on charging me $100 to pump it out ..even though Company Happy will pump it out for them for free.
    And even though it is legal to allow Company Happy pump it out (with permission) ..Company Sad refuses to give Company Happy permission. Again ..it is legal ..but it requires permission.
     
  9. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    BTW: I do have a second 500 gallon tank on my property ..and I do personally own that tank. And that is already FULL. I keep it full ..if ever there is some unexpected turn of events in supply. In the meantime ..I shop around each year for the best price ..and often swap out tanks depending upon which company has the best offer. I mean ..60 to 65 cents a gallon really adds up when you use approximately 1300 gallons a year. That is a very substantial savings ..and it makes good financial sense to take advantage of he lower price.
    (Last year ..I signed up with Company Sad at $1.39 a gallon ..but they insisted I had to use their tank. There is nothing in the contract about a 'pump out charge'.)
     
  10. Arkie1

    Arkie1 Well-Known Member

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    Can you do a pre buy with delivery later? :shrug: My sugguestion would be to use up the gas in Tank Sad and call the Sad Co. owner to come remove it, call Tank company Happy to come install the tank and fill it with your pre buy/ paid gas. ;)
     
  11. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................I'd find another 250 gallon used tank , buy it and have the cheaper company transfer the balance over from the rented tank , then use the 500 as my main tank and call the Mafia Propane company and tell them to come get their Stinking tank Mucho Pronto . fordy... :flame:
     
  12. Simpler1773

    Simpler1773 Well-Known Member

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    Is there any reason you can't lock in to company happy's price without taking immediate delivery? The just use the sad propane up and call them to take their tank and get happys in there at that time? Did that make sense?

    Ricki
     
  13. Simpler1773

    Simpler1773 Well-Known Member

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    lol Arkie ~ we were posting at the same time.

    Great minds....

    Ricki
     
  14. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    Excellent Idea! ..why didn't I think of that?

    Thanks!

    Late afternoon ..I finally got through to somebody from a distant Company Sad office (not local) ..and she could not understand why the local Company Sad was so uncooperative ..why so highly priced and unwillingly to offer a lower price more in line with the competition ..and why so rude.

    She is going to contact the District Director of Operations to see what they can do ..and she will contact me by phone on Monday. She also gave me the Director's name and contact info ..just in case I wanted to follow up after her.
     
  15. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Make a bunch of phone calls to find a tank to buy.

    I have my own two tanks so I can shop around for the best price.

    Of course company sad is trying to intimadate(sp) you.

    Both my tanks are from the high priced co (ferrellgas)---they have an awfull lot of tanks because they are loosing so many customers.

    Shop around.......
     
  16. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    I agree !! Great Minds do think alike.

    The both of you :) :)
     
  17. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    Ferrell Gas is Company Happy :) ! They're at $1.49 lock in until May 2007. Again ..I do own one 500 gallon tank.

    Company Sad will not fill customer owned tanks ..and a couple other local suppliers also don't. When they're the lowest price ..you either forgo the lower price ..or you switch and allow them to place their tank. That's what I did ..I allowed them to place their tank because they were the lowest price last year. Now they are the highest. Nothing in the signed contract said there would be a 'pump out' charge. And again ..if they'd just cooperate and give their permission ..Company Happy will pump it out for free.
     
  18. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have company B set up there tank oposite of the line going in , finish using up company A tank and have company B come and switch it over, when you need and call company A to come get there tank or you will charge them rent if it is not removed in a few days,
     
  19. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Pay the lousy $100 bucks and change companies. They're having to come out and get their tank and want money for their trouble. At least for the $100 you'll also get your tank pumped out and into your new one.

    Also, didn't you say they would reimburse you for the gas left in your tank? Won't that recover some losses?

    I don't get it...If I have to spen $100 to save $700, that's still a net gain of $600.

    Pay the $100 bucks and if you feel you're being treated unfairly be sure to tell the old company that you're going to recommend the new one to all your friends and neighbors...
     
  20. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    Again ..Company Happy originally agreed to do exactly that ..and they even took my personal information over the phone in order to set up my account. But then ..afterwards ..they changed their mind and said it was because they didn't want to offend Company Sad.

    In between ..Company Happy was going to call Company Sad and try to get permission on their own to pump out the tank. Shortly thereafter when I called Company Happy to ask how it went ..thats when I found out that Company Happy changed their mind and now will not put their tank on my property as long as Company Sad's tank is there.

    Therefore ..I can only surmise that Company Sad influenced Company Happy during their phone conversation. I feel that it is unethical if Company Sad influenced Company Happy into changing a prearranged agreement I had with them.