Propane Education & Research Council Considers Increasing Assessment Rate — Industry's Ambitious Strategic Goals Drive Announcement

April 4, 2000

Washington, D.C. - The Propane Education & Research Council announced that it would consider in July raising the assessment on odorized propane to increase the industry's investments in consumer education, research and development and safety and training.
The Council announced its intent to consider the assessment increase last week following a day-long strategic planning session in Atlanta, Georgia. 'At the Council's strategic planning meeting, it was clear that to accomplish the industry's aggressive goals and timetables we must look at an increase in the assessment rate,' said Propane Council Chairman Daryl McClendon, president, Platinum Propane, Hinsdale, Illinois.

The current assessment rate is one-tenth of one cent per gallon of odorized propane. The assessment collects approximately $10 million annually. 'At the Council meeting in July, when we consider our budget for 2001 and beyond, the Council will take up an assessment rate increase. We are likely to consider a two-year approach, increasing the assessment by 1/10 cent in 2001 and 2002,' said McClendon.

For months, the Council has been assembling a detailed strategy that includes extensive analyses of both its research and consumer education needs. 'The long-term strategy is being developed based on a great deal of input from industry leaders, the Council's three advisory committees, its communications firm (Porter Novelli), and a five-month long Technology Roadmap process,' said Council President Roy Willis.

The near-term elements of the emerging plan, approved by the Council on March 31, include (1) funding research for propane fuel cells; (2) expanding the industry's award winning Propane Emergencies program; (3) collecting additional data about the industry, its customers and markets; and (4) launching a streamlined trade show initiative to educate key markets about the benefits of propane.

Research & Development:
Propane Fuel Cell Development and Demonstration Program- Plug Power, Inc. ($375,000) (docket #10260)
Propane Fuel Cell System Development and Demonstration- Northwest Power System, LLC ($295,000) (docket #10229)
Advanced Propane Fuel Processing Systems for Fuel Cell Power Generation- Epyx Corp./Arthur D. Little ($250,000) (docket #10261)
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Development Program- Propane Vehicle Council ($200,000) (docket #10187)
Integrating Propane into EPA's Mobile Model- Propane Vehicle Council ($34,500) (docket #10266)

Safety and Training:
Propane Emergencies Training/Grassroots Outreach- Propane Education & Research Council ($551,175) (docket #10265)
Risk assessment support for propane safety in transportation- National Propane Gas Association ($267,336) (docket #10185)
Train the Trainer- NFPA 58 and NFPA 54ÑNational Fire Protection Association ($126,600) (docket #10228)
Consumer Education: The Council gave qualified approval to two projects pending further review by the Consumer Education Advisory Committee.

Consumer Education Message/Market Test Pilot Program- Propane Education & Research Council ($520,956) (docket #10272)
Trade Show Initiative- Propane Education & Research Council- ($611,500) (includes docket #10191- International Builders' Show- National Propane Gas Association)
 'These funded projects represent 38 percent of the Council's research and development budget, 55 percent for consumer education and 62 percent of the safety and training budget for 2000,' said Propane Council Treasurer Walter Cressman, president, Cress Gas Co., Richlandtown, Pennsylvania.

State Rebates: Nine state PERCs and foundations were granted nearly $360,000 to fund 15 projects. Twenty percent of Council funds are earmarked for states to develop and implement programs and projects at the state level.

Other Action:

  • Ray Enstine, president, C.W. Pulver, Inc., Bridgehampton, New York, was elected chairman of the Safety and Training Advisory Committee.
  • An Agriculture Advisory Committee was established to coordinate agriculture funding with farm organizations.

Next Meeting: The Council's next meeting will be held June 20-21 in Washington, D.C.

The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of 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.