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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper declared a “disaster emergency” in Colorado because of a propane supply shortage that could affect 33,000 propane customers, mainly in rural parts of the state.

A statement by the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says, “These customers may not be able to receive enough propane to heat their homes in the near future.”

According to the DHSEM statement, a combination of propane production issues, anticipated severe weather and a propane shortage prompted Gov. Hickenlooper to issue a verbal executive order Monday, Dec. 24.

Hickenlooper’s executive order “suspends the hours-of-service regulations that normally prevent intrastate drivers of commercial motor vehicles from transporting propane winter heating fuel until January 8, 2019 at midnight.”

Recent propane production issues at Colorado facilities required Colorado propane suppliers to find out-of-state sources, increasing the time required for transportation and contributing to the potential supply shortfall.

The DHSEM also cites forecasts for extreme winter weather as a factor due to projected increased usage of propane as a winter heating fuel, noting that the state of Oklahoma has issued a similar order to address propane shortages.

Hickenlooper’s executive order states that this exception “shall also not be construed as an exemption from the statute which prohibits ill or fatigued drivers from operating a motor vehicle.”

Counties at risk of propane shortages include Fremont, Saguache, Custer, Alamosa, Pueblo and El Paso counties. The other at-risk counties are:

La Plata
San Miguel