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    Propane Education & Research Council Approves 2005 Budget, Funds e-learning Initiative for Four CETP Subject Areas

     

    Washington, DC (October 15, 2004) — The Propane Education & Research Council met on October 7-8 at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park, approving a $50.8 million budget for 2005 as well as funding for an e-learning initiative that will provide the electronic delivery of four Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) subject areas on CD-ROM/DVD.

    The 2005 budget maintains the five-tenths cent ($.005) assessment rate per gallon sold of odorized propane.  A summary of the 2005 budget is below:

    2005 Budget 

    Revenues           $50, 825, 000
    Expenditures  
    Administrative:   $2,756,354
    State Rebates:   $10, 036,000
    Consumer Education:   $24, 858,348
    Research and Development:        $4,573, 863
    Safety and Training: $4,126, 458
    Agricutlture: $2,509,000
    Industry Programs: $1,426,821
    Other Expenses: $459,000

     

     Changes were made to the 2005 budget following the Council’s approval of a recommendation from the Engine Fuel Task Force to form an Engine Fuel Coordinating Committee (EFCC). The EFCC would replace two subcommittees from the Consumer Education Advisory Committee and Research and Development Advisory Committee as well as the non-lobbying activities of the Propane Vehicle Council (PVC).

    Engine Fuel Task Force Chairman Michael Schwartje, ConocoPhillips (Houston, TX), said the goals of the Engine Fuel Coordinating Committee are to protect and grow the forklift market as well as increase the market for propane as an engine fuel. The Propane Vehicle Council would cease its operations, and its executive director, Brian Feehan, would join the PERC staff as managing director of the coordinating committee. The formation of the coordinating committee is dependent on the approval of the PVC board of directors to dissolve their organization.

    The Council approved a $5.3 million e-learning initiative will provide electronic delivery via CD-ROM/DVD of the four most widely used CETP certification areas – Basic Principles & Practices, Delivery Basics, Operating a Bobtail to Deliver Propane, and Operating a Cylinder Delivery Vehicle. The goal of the project is to advance workplace training by increasing marketers’ access to quality training programs while reducing costs. In approving the initiative in a 16-2 vote, Council also required PERC staff to consult with the National Propane Gas Association regarding the certification process, to charge users an up-front fee for ongoing production and maintenance costs, and to provide councilors with a status report on the project at every meeting.

    “In developing the Safety and Training Roadmap in 2002, the Council identified the need to develop and provide high quality, propane-specific training programs in electronic formats,” said PERC President Roy Willis. “By funding this initiative, our industry is taking a tremendous step to distinguish our safety and training efforts, which in turn will help us promote propane as an exceptional energy option.”

    A majority of the Council meeting focused on the work of the research and development mission. PERC Director of Research and Development Greg Kerr, along with several members of the Research and Development Advisory Committee, led by Chairman Stuart Weidie, Blossman Gas, Inc. (Asheville, NC), provided updates on a number of Council-funded research and development initiatives in the distributed generation, retail operations, containers, fuel quality, and engine fuel areas.

    “PERC is coordinating the largest and most effective research organization for the propane industry worldwide, with more than $17.5 million in projects funded since 1998,” Weidie said. “We are approaching research and development not only to create new products that will help sell additional gallons of propane but to make the industry safer and more efficient.”

    Consumer Education Advisory Committee Chairman Daryl McClendon (Ferrellgas, Hinsdale, IL) presented on overview of the fall advertising campaign. Television advertisements featuring the Energy Guys began in mid-September, with radio advertising beginning in mid-October. The advertising was credited with sending a record high 50,640 visitors to the usepropane.com website in September, eclipsing the previous record of 33,839 visits set in April 2004. Also setting a record high was the Find A Propane Retailer feature on usepropane.com, which averaged 28.2 leads a day in September, beating the previous record of 15 leads a day which was also set in April 2004.

    The Agriculture Advisory Committee, led by Chairman Paul Culver, CHS Inc. (St. Paul, MN), and Agriculture Programs Manager Mark Leitman, updated Council on a number of projects, including its 2005 agriculture trade show plan, which focuses on reaching agriculture producers and influencer groups. New elements of the 2005 plan include communicating with the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Association of Agriculture Educators as well as a trade show co-operative program that supports state propane association efforts to exhibit at key agriculture trade shows and encourage equipment manufacturers to exhibit propane equipment.

    The Council approved funding for the following grants:

     

    Agriculture
    Docket 11416
    –Thermal Defoliation, Agriculture Industrial Manufacturing, $323,000
    Docket 11541 – 2005 Agriculture Trade Show Communications, Osborne & Barr Communications, $257,945
    Docket 11545 – Agriculture Cost Estimator Targeted Distribution to Marketers and Producers, Osborne & Barr Communications, $136,604
    Docket 11546 – Study of Remote Refueling in Agriculture, Railroad Commission of Texas, $197,535

     

    Research & Development
    Docket 11534
    – Real Energy Efficiency Study, National Propane Gas Association, $21,000
    Docket 11535 – Codes and Standards Research Consortium, National Propane Gas Association, $93,750
    Docket 11538 – Research, Development, and Demonstration of Micro-CHP Systems for Residential Applications, Propane Education & Research Council, $50,000
    Docket 11539 – Research and Development Project Oversight, Propane Education & Research Council, $30,000

     

    Safety & Training
    Docket 11459
    – Development of Propane Emergencies Scenarios 1-10, Propane Education & Research Council, $35,000
    Docket 11481 – “Remember Charlie” Presentation and Additional Videos/DVDs, Propane Education & Research Council, $14,700
    Docket 11509 – CETP e-learning Initiative, Propane Education & Research Council, $5,294,300
    Docket 11464 – Fire Safety Analysis Follow-Up Activities, National Propane Gas Association, $68,775
    Docket 11536 – Development of Consumer Safety Education Campaign Materials (Consumer Safety Education Campaign Phase 2), Propane Education & Research Council, $354,750
    Docket 11540 – Development of CETP Industrial, Commercial, and Agricultural Liquid Transfer Systems Manual: Phase II, National Propane Gas Association, $9,670

     

    Industry Programs
    Docket 11547
    – Industry Programs Virtual Team Room Support and Hosting 2004, Propane Education & Research Council, $15,000

     

    State Rebates
    The Council approved 55 state rebates (from 28 states) totaling more than $2 million.  Of that amount, over $735,000 in Consumer Education Partnership with States Program funds (matching dollars) were granted to 18 states.

    The Council’s next meeting is scheduled for December 9-10 in Houston, TX.