Behind the Scenes during a Power Outage

Just when we thought Spring was here, Mother Nature decided April was the month to test our resilience by bringing back to back power outages. The second, and most recent outage, was compared to the ice storm of 1998, which we all remember well. At Waltz & Sons Propane, we take these events seriously. We prepare in advance by topping off tanks used for generators, monitor our tank monitors closely during the outage, and follow up to fill tanks afterwards to ensure they are ready for the next storm.

We keep a master list of all generator accounts, and identify which we remotely monitor with tank monitors. If you have a leased tank you should have a monitor on your system. If not, please call our office. We compare our master list of generator accounts against the CMP published outage list. If your street is listed, and you have one of our monitors, we mark your current percentage and mark it as one to watch. If you have a customer owned tank, or are a COD or WILL CALL account, we will know your street has no power, however, we will count on you to contact us with your percentage and call for a delivery.

Once we determine who is listed on the outage list, we will group these deliveries by the percentage in their tanks. Generally, we group them at 20% or less, 21-40%, and over 40%. If you are over 40% you should have enough propane to last up to 2 days. We check these lists and percentages daily until we are ensured that you have power, or have enough to get you through to when the power is expected to come on per the CMP Outage list and estimated time of restoration. Our tank monitors read the percentage on your tank gauge once a day.

We never charge special trip or delivery fees during an outage.

We have 4 routes and deliver each route every 4 weeks. We run a report of all of our accounts. If you are 40% or less, regardless of whether you have a generator, we will schedule a delivery for you to ensure you have propane for your generator, or backup heat during a storm.

A few items that our customers can help us with is:

  • if you are 40% or over, please wait until you are less than that to call our office as we are trying to handle the critical, 39% or less, calls first.
  • check the outage list and ensure your street is on the list. If your street is not on the list, please report an outage to CMP and call us so that we can monitor your propane levels.
  • check the percentage on your tank. Our monitors only work if the propane tank gauge works. If you find that your gauge isn’t moving, and you’ve been using your propane, please call us and we’ll get you a delivery and fix the gauge.
  • Keep as clear of a path as you can to your tank. Also, if your street is impassable, or we cannot get to you due to downed power lines and/or trees. Let us know when it is safe to get through to delivery.
  • Be patient. We work very hard to ensure that you have propane during a storm.
  • if you get power back, please let us know so that we can concentrate on those still running their generators.
  • Have your generator serviced per your manufacturer guidelines with a licensed electrician. We do not perform service on generators. We do ensure they have propane to run.

If you are wondering how much propane you may use during an outage, please refer to this guide on typical gas loads for various sized generators.

Lastly, after each storm, we determine what we can do differently, and value your input to help us be even better.