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    Propane Education & Research Council Unanimously Approves $5.8 Million Consumer Education Program

    "Exceptional" Campaign will be Launched Immediately

     

    January 10, 2001

    Washington, D.C. - The Propane Education & Research Council (Council) held a special teleconference on Tuesday, January 9 to vote on a multi-million dollar nationwide consumer education plan for 2001. The Council gave unanimous approval to the $5.8 million plan, which includes several elements-- targeted national cable television and print advertising, trade advertising, marketing and media outreach initiatives as well as a comprehensive evaluation program to measure the effectiveness of the campaign throughout the year.

    The vote supported a recommendation from the Council's Consumer Education Advisory Committee (CEAC) to approve the plan with modifications made following an industry and public comment period (November 22-December 29, 2000). Although only a few comments were received from industry members during the review period, CEAC Chairman Tom Jaenicke, Ferrellgas, Flint, Michigan, said he's confident many in the industry had the opportunity throughout 2000 to give the Council their ideas for inclusion in the multi-faceted plan.

    At a time when a colder-than-normal winter combined with high energy prices and increased propane demand are putting stress on the industry around the country, Council Treasurer Walter Cressman emphasized the need to promote the year-round use of propane through the Council's consumer education efforts.

    A major goal of the Council is to build off-season load-- to increase consumer demand for propane in the spring and summer months. "I am confident that the initiatives contained in our consumer education plan will help us reach consumers around the country with the many reasons propane can help make their lives easier and more comfortable if used year-round," said Propane Council Chairman Daryl McClendon, president, Platinum Propane, Hinsdale, Illinois. "We will take this message to a wide variety of consumers-- from homeowners and builders to farmers, fleet managers, and forklift operators," added McClendon. "In order to achieve our goals we will have to sustain this consumer education program over time. Changes will not happen overnight."

    An equally important component of the national program is a plan to work with propane marketers and state organizations on the placement of television and print advertisements at the state and local levels. "For this program to be successful, we will need the industry to partner with the Council to implement a united consumer education program," said Council President Roy Willis. "We look forward to working with the industry as the program is implemented throughout the country."

    Manufactured Housing Initiative. In other action, the Council gave tentative approval to a program to increase propane's use in the manufactured housing market. A task force of industry professionals has been working on the plan, which will be finalized and submitted to the Council's Executive Committee for final approval in the coming weeks.

    State Rebates. The Council approved four state rebates and approved partial funding for one additional state rebate request. States are eligible to receive rebates equivalent to 20 percent of the Council's annual assessment collections.

    Leadership Summit. The Council scheduled its annual Leadership Summit of state leaders for May 1-2 in St. Louis, Missouri.

    2001 Council Meetings.
    April 10-11/Atlanta, Georgia
    May 1-2/St. Louis, Missouri (Leadership Summit)
    July 17-18/Chicago, Illinois
    September 18-19/Washington, D.C.
    December 11-12/Houston, Texas

    The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source. A 21-member board appointed by the National Propane Gas Association and the Gas Processors Association governs the Council.

    Through the Council, the propane industry has committed itself to a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to improve consumer and employee safety, to fund research and development of new and more efficient propane equipment, and to expand public awareness of propane and its many uses and environmental advantages.

    The Council is funded by an assessment or 'check-off' on each gallon of odorized propane gas. Currently, the assessment is two-tenths of one cent per gallon. The 'check-off' program is expected to collect $21 million dollars in 2001 to fund programs and projects.

    For more information about the Council, please call 202-452-8975 or visit the web site at www.propanecouncil.org.