Propane Council Raises $8.6 Million in 1998

Steps up Compliance Efforts to Ensure Level Playing Field


February 25, 1999

WASHINGTON D.C. – Despite low propane consumption in 1998, the Propane Education & Research Council will report assessment collections of $8.6 million for 1998, according to its end-of-year financial statements. The Council had projected $8 million in collections when it prepared its 1998 budget. "Whenever a new system is put into place," said Council President Roy Willis, "you hope it works, and we’re confident that the assessment on odorized propane is working largely as planned thanks to a high level of voluntary compliance by the industry."

The assessment on odorized propane is currently set at one-tenth of a cent per gallon. The owner of propane at the time it is odorized or imported into the United States is responsible for paying the assessment. "We anticipated some compliance problems in the start-up year," Willis explained. "There is evidence of isolated assessment payment problems," he added, "and we have begun an audit process to figure out whether those problems are serious."

The Council is given explicit authority under the Propane Education and Research Act to enforce assessment collections through federal court order. "We prefer voluntary compliance, but the Council has an obligation to maintain a level playing field by ensuring that everyone who owes the assessment is paying their fair share," said Willis.

As part of its assessment enforcement efforts, Willis said the Council plans to conduct a nationwide review of pipeline shipments and Canadian import records. "There is concern that some individual pipeline shippers and importers may have not made assessment payments, and we will examine those records and take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the assessment." In a Notice to Remitters being mailed this week, the Council is reminding the propane industry that the assessment payment is mandatory under federal law. Under a limited amnesty, persons who may have neglected to make assessment payments have until March 25 to pay or face significant late payment fees.