Preparing For A Brutal Winter: Crystal Flash Is Ready
Propane Supplier Adds Record New Customers, Expands Storage, Trucking Capabilities
Crystal Flash, one of the largest family-owned propane distribution companies in Michigan, is prepared for another harsh winter.
Last winter’s propane shortage took some companies and their customers by surprise, leading to complaints of skyrocketing prices, canceled contracts and a shortage. Crystal Flash has taken steps to ensure their Michigan customers who rely on propane can have uninterrupted deliveries at affordable pricing, including doubling its underground storage space and increasing trucking capacity.
In response to customer demand, Crystal Flash is extending its Price Protection Programs until Oct. 31.
“Last winter was a brutal experience for many Michigan families,” said Dave Scigliano, CEO of the third-generation family-owned supplier. “Near-record snow fall in combination with freezing temperatures that just didn’t budge drove up all of our heating bills.
“Crystal Flash was one of the few companies prepared to meet increased demand without raising prices. Weather forecasters tell us we can expect another tough winter, but we are ready to weather whatever Mother Nature sends our way.”
With the cold weather approaching quickly, there are several factors the public should be aware of in regards to propane supply-demand. These factors include:
- Another harsh winter: While predictions are still coming in, the consensus among weather watchers is that there will be a near repeat of the tough weather conditions had last year.
- Upcoming harvest season: Propane is used widely in the agricultural industry for grain drying. Given this summer’s cooler temperatures and abundant rain, last year’s harvest conditions are expected to repeat requiring substantially more propane to dry corn and other crops.
- Impact of the Cochin pipeline shutdown: The Cochin pipeline has been one of the major pipelines bringing propane from Western Canada into the United States. This fall, that pipeline has been reversed, effectively taking tens of millions of gallons of propane off the table.
- Exports: While propane inventory currently exceeds what it was at this time last year, the United States continues to export propane, essentially making this newfound volume a wash.
Scigliano said that Crystal Flash has been preparing since spring for the upcoming heating season, starting with forecasting. The purchasing team of Crystal Flash has spent months projecting anticipated deliveries for the upcoming season based on current customer contracts and projected new customers.
The company has doubled its underground storage space in Marysville as a “safety valve.” Additionally, it has increased trucking capacity by adding a new 18,000-gallon propane trailer to its fleet, which will significantly help with delivery logistics.
“Having good relationships with the right suppliers allows Crystal Flash to have a number of propane terminals to pull product from, ensuring we don’t have a problems with customer demand,” Scigliano explained. “Because we purchase our propane well in advance of when we need it, we’re not as subject to price fluctuations in the market. Our customers are able to lock in pricing before the first snowflake flies.”
Since the beginning of the year, Crystal Flash has added more than 1,200 new customers from organic growth. The company has been on an aggressive acquisition campaign since January 2012, acquiring all or portions of eight Michigan companies around the state. Crystal Flash just wrapped up its strongest price protection program sign-up period, establishing contracts with thousands of customers to lock-in prices and delivery.
“This winter is going to be another tough one but we are ready,” Scigliano said. “Our team has worked long hours to ensure we are able to meet demand while keeping our customers safe and warm. So we say, bring it on Old Man Winter, bring it on.”
About Crystal Flash™
Crystal Flash™ is a third-generation family-owned energy distribution company focused on commercial and residential customers throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Established in 1932, Crystal Flash has grown as the demand for energy has evolved, and today concentrates on the sale and distribution of propane, diesel and other fuels. Today, the company is one of the largest independently owned energy suppliers in the state with more than 250 employees in 18 locations. For more information, visit us online at www.crystalflash.com.