My Propane Supplier Finally 'Gets It' : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

(a bit long)

Mrs. Rimmer and I have been working as a team on preparation for a few months now. We discuss our vulnerabilities, come up with contingencies, prioritize and divide up the work.

One of her tasks was to contact our propane supplier and make arrangements for a second 1000-gallon tank. She called and spoke to an office secretary a total of 3 times over the past 3 months to inquire and was treated poorly (the company was skeptical when I switched from a 500-gallon tank to a 1000-gallon tank about 3 years ago - now they really thought we were crazy). To make a long story somewhat shorter, Mrs. Rimmer became a bit frustrated with the company's reluctance and asked if I'd be willing to take a shot at speaking to them.

I took the day off on Friday and one of my jobs was to stop at the company's office and see if I could get things happening. I went prepared with an ultimatum - either get us 2 tanks or lose a 10 year customer. I had already contacted a second company willing to do it for roughly the same cost.

When I arrived at the office, the secretarty was not in and so an assitant manger type helped me. I told him I wanted to lease 2 1000-gallon tanks and wanted them both filled to capacity immediately along with a Y-connector to let me select which tank I draw from. I told him we were on the contract/budget arrangement but that I was willing to pay cash for everything immediately. I also told him that I wanted it done before Christmas.

He listened to all this and then looked at me and said "Y2K?" I nodded and he said that more of their customers were beginning to take these precautions. He said that one small business customer had just received 6 (six) 1000-gallon tanks and was leasing an additional 4 (total of 10). The customer was purchasing a new large propane generator.

Then he told me that he himself was preparing (had gotten an extra propane tank and a woodstove). He said "You know, we've been looking into this and we get our supply of propane piped up from Texas. There are computers and embedded systems all along the way and it would only take a couple of problems in any one of them to disrupt the supply. All these systems must work or we don't get the propane."

I nodded and told him I also wasn't very optimistic about the refineries themselves either. I then told him that with 1600 gallons of propane (each tank has max fill of 80% or 800 gallons each), if their supply was disrupted, I would still have heat and cooking fuel for the entire winter (with conservation!) and that I would be one customer they would not have to worry about in the event of a disruption. Propane lasts forever and so will eventually be used. The only costs we might be 'out' are the tank leases, a few fittings and some copper tubing. They even provide the regulators. We consider this to be very cheap insurance.

He agreed. We will have our new tanks this week. Didn't need to issue the ultimatum I was prepared to deliver!

Another DGI becomes a GI....


-- Arnie Rimmer (, December 07, 1998


Yikes! Thanks for posting that! Now we better have a chat with_our_propane dealer! We have a 500 gallon tank. We are getting our generator converted to propane. but 500 gallons isn't all That much! Now we are scratching our heads...don't know where we could put another tank! (We also have a wood stove) I sure appreciate this forum...been regular lurker for 6 months! Have filled several 3 ring binders with info from threads and links. Thanks All!

-- Suzanne Hansen (, December 07, 1998.


It isn't quite technically an "80% fill" so much as it's an 80% empty. Ther pro is still in there, we just can't get it out (something about gas expansion under changing pressures and volumes, etc)

Chuck, whose wife works for a 14 state propane dealer, who stores the company propane in caverns from summer, and sells in winter.

-- Chuck a night driver (, December 07, 1998.

This is what I found on my local propane dealer's homepage:

Q. Why isn't my tank filled to 100% capacity? A. Your propane fuel is delivered and stored in liquid form. Propane liquid, for example, will expand nearly 17 times as much as water over the same temperature increase. As a result, tanks and cylinders are never completely filled with propane-gas liquid. Tanks are filled to about 80-85% of their capacity. This leaves a space above the liquid which allows the LP-gases to expand freely due to changes in temperature.

There are several important characteristics that you need to understand about LP-gases when they are stored in containers. First, heat added to LP-gases in a tank or cylinder is transferred directly from the air surrounding the container. Hot days, cool nights, rain, and snow are a few of the many factors that affect the temperature of the liquid. Because of these temperature changes, you may see fluctuations in your container gauge.

-- Chris (, December 07, 1998.

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