Your Propane Price is Too Expensive

Ben Kurland| July 28, 2016

You’re overpaying for your propane. It’s just a fact: your propane price is higher than it needs to be. Amerigas stock has gone up by 50% in the last year from charging you a fortune for your propane (and propane accessories.) The same is true of their main competitors. Ferrellgas and Suburban Propane are both raking in cash and you’re footing the bill. The bad news is that your propane bill is probably costing you hundreds of dollars more a year than it needs to, but the good news is that you can fix that. Your propane price can almost certainly be lower. We found a case where not only did a personal propane account drop by more than $400, Amerigas actually ended up writing a check for $800 to keep a customer. Want to find out how?

Propane Pricing in 2016

Propane Prices 2016

For a little background, the average propane price in 2016 is just under $2 a gallon. If you’re paying more than that, odds are you’re paying too much. If you’re paying less, you can sleep a little easier, but you’re probably still paying too much. Some larger buyers are snapping up propane for just over $1 per gallon; a far cry from the $4+ a gallon average propane prices that cropped up in the winter of 2014.

With that kind of volatility, it can be hard to keep track of how much you’re supposed to be paying. If Amerigas drops your price fifty cents from last year, you might think you’re getting a good deal, when in fact your neighbor’s bill is dropping a buck. Oftentimes, your propane price can seem totally random, but rest assured that keeping a close eye on it is always worthwhile.

Of course, there’s natural volatility built into propane pricing. Propane prices depend on global supply and demand–oil prices and natural gas prices both play into how much you’re paying for your propane, so does the weather. In colder winters, you’re probably stuck paying more and, unless you can predict the weather, some elements of your propane price may be out of your control. At least, that’s what companies like Amerigas want you to think.

Timing is crucial when you’re picking propane pricing and right now propane is looking pretty cheap. It’s almost certainly going to rise this winter; the only question is how much. Some analysts are predicting a big jump and suggest purchasing early to beat that bump. Stocking up early might be the smart play or locking in a fixed propane rate for the year ahead, while propane prices are so cheap. But, even then, you’re gambling a little. Even without the guesswork, though, there are foolproof ways of ensuring you’re getting a good deal on your propane price.

Switching Providers

Propane Price Suppliers

Just a couple of the largest propane suppliers courtesy of PropaneDeal

One of the most surefire ways of getting a lower price on your propane bill is switching providers. There are dozens of propane providers in the U.S. and whoever you’re with, there’s always somebody else clamoring to give you a better deal. Only a few companies have huge national operations like Amerigas does, but there are local and regional providers all over that can find you a better set up. You can look up providers available in your area online or even ask your neighbors who they’re using.

Finding the right provider can be tricky. There are a million factors that go into the decision other than cost: location, customer service, safety, and on and on. And, within price, there are a million more. Even if the price per gallon is better, there may be a cancellation fee to leave your current provider or an installation fee to start somewhere new. Switching providers isn’t an easy process and if you want to get the best possible rate, you’re going to want to read all the small print before jumping ship. Still, if the price is right, switching propane providers may be the best move for you. But what if you want to save money on your propane price without making a big change?

Negotiating your Propane Price

Negotiating Propane Price

If you haven’t called up to negotiate your propane price, you’re throwing away money. No joke. Propane is negotiable and you can almost certainly get a better price by giving your provider a call.  They know you can save money by jumping ship and, even if they don’t say it at first, they likely have special offers, discounts, promotions, and different pricing options that can save you money.

Of course, they’re not going to make it easy. If you call up Amerigas and ask for a cheaper propane price, odds are they’ll tell you that you have the best possible deal. You can threaten to cancel and switch to regional provider, but odds are they’ll remind you of the contract that you’re stuck in with them and the minimum early termination fee of $150. If you’ve got propane left in the tank, they’ll often double that to pump the propane out. And that’s just the fees they post publicly online.

There are a couple of tricks that can make getting a better propane price easier: do your research first about other options, make sure to be friendly and they’ll be more willing to help out, and call during business hours when you won’t get stuck on hold with everyone else who is trying to get a better propane rate. Still, even with those, you may not have too much luck. Fortunately, we’re happy to help.

BillFixers negotiates propane prices for you. No need to do your own research, no need to wait on hold, no dealing with termination fees or switching out tanks. All you do is send in a copy of your propane bill and an expert negotiator calls and does all the haggling for you. Once the best possible rate is locked in, you’ll get an email telling you just how much you’ll be saving. Easy as that.

What your propane price could look like

Amerigas Propane

The proof, as always, is in the pudding. Just to give you an idea of what calling in a negotiation expert to help out can look like, here’s an example:

Betty and Rob had Amerigas service and thought they were getting the best possible rate for their propane. They’d been with Amerigas for years and called occasionally, but mostly just figured the price reflected the market. They signed up with BillFixers to double check and cut their propane price by more than half. The account not only ended up costing them more than $400 less over year, but Amerigas actually ended up writing Betty and Rob a check for more than $800 for overcharging them the last year. The change required a $120 “enrollment fee,” but with a little sweet-talking, the negotiator on the account got that waived. All in all, they’ll actually be making money on their propane bill over the next year.

The best part is that savings like that aren’t just a one time deal. When you sign up to have your bill lowered, you can have it reduced year over year. Instead of having to keep an eye on your bill and shop around constantly, you just send in your bill every year, have it knocked down, and decide how to spend your new money.

At the end of the day, hiring a negotiator isn’t necessarily the best fit for you. You might save more by making a bet about the weather or natural gas production and you might be able to match the rate they find by doing the research yourself and switching providers or by spending hours on hold and escalating your way up from supervisor to supervisor trying to find a discount. Whether the extra convenience and savings of hiring BillFixers makes sense for you or not, not touching your propane bill definitely doesn’t. Your propane price is too high. Are you ready to do something about it?

Do you know any other ways to save money on your bills? Drop us a line at [email protected], we’d love to include them in our next article.

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