I consider it a costly lesson learned

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 06:07 PM.

But county-shmounty. I don’t mean to be splitting hairs. I helped elect our representatives and commissioners who instituted these additional charges, so I’m at least partially responsible for them — municipal or otherwise.

I accept that I have to pay some taxes to get even the meager benefits from government way out here where you can still hear the cows mooing in the morning. Dad always reminded me that nothing is free except fresh air and a cool breeze, rain drops on a parched tongue, a bird’s song, and sunshine. Certainly winter’s heat isn’t free unless I want to sleep next to a wood fire. Outside. My wife visiting friends. Maybe forever. Oh, a wood fire isn’t free either. I would need an outside burning permit.

Regardless of my reasonableness, though, a 40 percent increase in the price of propane in two years plus a 37 percent increase in surcharges when the 2013 national inflation rate was only 1.5 percent? These massive increases are not reasonable and just don’t pass the smell test.

When we built our home, we were told by the original provider (now sold several times over) that the tank was provided free because we had a gas-pack heater, a gas fireplace and a gas kitchen stove. Now several sales of the gas company later, we’re not only paying exorbitant prices for the gas itself and for so-called “safety programs and training” and other added surcharges and taxes, but we’re paying an annual tank rental fee.

If we choose to change gas providers, we are not permitted to have the new propane gas provider fill the tank we got for “free” (not) — owned by the original gas provider — under penalty of a misuse fine. I allegedly agreed to his policy through several sales of this propane company even though I signed nothing and don’t recollect being advised of this policy. My bust.

Having our current propane provider come out and remove their buried tank? $1,000. I’m not sure if I dig it out whether I can save anything. We haven’t gotten that far yet.

A very nice lady at our current propane company’s customer service sheepishly admitted the cheapest way out of this mess might be to buy my own above ground tank and shop around for a cheaper propane provider of which there are several. Of course, I will still have to pay for my “free” tank’s annual rental even if unused.



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