Extended Artic Temperatures Cause Propane Shortage In Midwestern States

Scott Olson, Getty Images

IOWA -- Demand for heat during the nationwide cold snap is leading to rolling blackouts.

Power outages have been reported in rural parts of Northern Iowa, and there could be more rolling blackouts today and tomorrow in Northern and Western Iowa.

They're part of the Southwest Power Pool, a group of power-generating utilities across 14 states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas.

Both Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy say their customers should be okay.

"There are some power supply issues in the southern U.S., as well as to the west of the Missouri River," said Geoff Greenwood with MidAmerican. "That is not affecting the portion of the electric grid from which we draw our power for our customers."

Greenwood says customers are being asked to help conserve natural gas because the wells that supply it are literally frozen and demand is high.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and several governors across the Midwest are lifting restrictions for tanker trucks carrying propane so it can get to people quicker.

Both homes and farm buildings in rural Iowa use propane for heat.

Greenwood says there are a few things that can be done to help.

"Checking your furnace filter to make sure its running efficiently, and doesn't have to run as hard. Checking to make sure that you don't have drafts coming into the house. Do what you can to seal those up for now, and just do what you can to just try to reduce even slightly, your natural gas use."

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