Missouri lawmaker calls for investigation into soaring propane costs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Midwesterners are struggling through the cold to stay warm with soaring propane and one Missouri lawmaker said Friday that it's time to put a stop to the high prices.

"I've never seen anything quite like this," Don Spencer said, a resident of Pleasant Hill, Mo.

Spencer and his family count on propane to heat their home and water. He said that in November, he was paying $1.89 per gallon. That's not the case now.

"Today it's $6.04. In less than four weeks, it has tripled. Virtually tripled," he said.

When he called gas company Ferrell Gas, he said they told him the prices would "continue to escalate."

He's not alone. Many Midwesterners are feeling the crunch with record high prices.

On Friday, Missouri legislator Michael Parson (R) called for an investigation from Attorney General Chris Koster about what he said could be outright price-gouging by major corporations sending propane overseas.

"I'm assuming they have those contracts that they are trying to meet and you know they probably didn't save enough in reserves but they are passing that expense on to Missourians," Parson said.

While Koster wouldn't say exactly when he may take action in a statement released Friday, he said this:

We have received approximately 25 complaints regarding the increased price of propane gas, and our investigators have contacted the consumers. We are coordinating with other agencies and propane gas associations in nine states to determine the causes of the price spikes in the market, and how they are being implemented to Missouri consumers.

"I've had people at work that have this week been victimized by the prevailing price," Spencer said. "They'll do it until someone tells them to stop."

A spokesperson for Ferrell Gas said over the phone Friday that the company is doing everything it can to make sure customers have the propane they need during these cold winter months.

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