The Division of Energy Services has established a public hotline for Wisconsin residents with propane issues or questions. Propane customers and other residents with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel can call toll-free 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947). The hotline is staffed to provide information about Energy Assistance Programs, connect callers with resources in their county or tribe, and provide other information. Consumers who need financial assistance to pay home heating bills may find help through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP), which helps low and limited income households with heating and electric assistance. Money is still available for households that have not already applied and additional assistance may be available for propane customers in need. Benefits are available through May 15, 2014. Your local agency will determine your eligibility for heating benefits based upon your household income, size and your home’s heating costs.

People often turn to alternative heat sources to stay warm when the temperature plummets. Remember to use caution when using alternative heating sources.Types of alternative heating sources often seen include:

•Portable electric heaters
•Liquid-fueled heaters: kerosene, waste oil
•Gas-burning heaters: propane is most common
•Solid-fuel heating: wood-burning, pellet-burning
Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside because the combustion process of burning fuel uses oxygen and also gives off carbon monoxide — a deadly combination inside of a home.

Other tips for alternative heat sources:
•Keep anything flammable — including pets and people — at least three feet away from heating equipment.
•Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.
•Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
•Space heaters need constant watching. Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
•Make sure all cords on electric heaters are in good shape and checked periodically for any frays or breaks in the insulation surrounding the wires.

What propane consumers and Wisconsin residents can do:
•Conserve energy as much as possible. Turn down thermostats and be aware of your propane use.
•Check in on your family members, neighbors and friends. Call 9-1-1 only in a crisis.
•Contact your propane vendor when your tank reaches 30% full to ensure receiving product on time
•Call the State hotline for more information: 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947)

For all county and tribe contact information and locations, or more information on WHEAP, call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947) or visit the Home Energy Plus website: http://www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov/.