Updated: 02/05/2014 10:36 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart
The state of Minnesota is prepared to open warming shelters in the event that nationwide propane supply problems continue and cold weather persists in the state.
The state Executive Council, chaired by Gov. Mark Dayton, met Friday and extended the governor's emergency declaration related to the propane shortage. Prices on the fuel have skyrocketed in recent weeks, causing growing concern for many rural Minnesotans who rely on it to heat their homes, farms and businesses.
The emergency order allows the state's Emergency Operations Center to open shelters in the event Minnesotans run out of fuel. Director Kris Eide says the agency has identified shelter sites in a number of communities.
State Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman says the propane situation is likely to remain tenuous for the next few weeks.
The hotline handled more than 550 calls in the first two days of operation. The increased demand led state officials to open the hotline this weekend.
Anyone who has questions or is in danger of running out of fuel to heat their home can call the hotline at 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504. The hotline will be open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The hotline will also take calls 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
This week, Governor Dayton declared a State of Emergency to get more propane into the state.
On Thursday, Gov. Dayton joined other Midwest governors on a conference call with Texas Governor Rick Perry. Last week Gov. Perry waived trucking restrictions in Texas. That increased the flow of propane to Minnesota and other states.
We've compiled some information about what you need to know during the propane shortage. Find it here.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.