Heating Assistance Resources You Can Share With Your Customers

September 4, 2020
Over the last few weeks, the MPGA staff and staff from CR Marketing have been hard at work promoting resources available now that your customers can use if they are having trouble paying their propane bills. The MPGA has created resources available at HeatingMyHome.org, through social media promotions statewide, and the MPGA has even shared information through television media coverage.
The MPGA encourages all propane retailers to share these resources with any customers struggling with their energy bills due to the impacts of COVID-19 and in need of utility bill assistance. The MPGA has encouraged all customers to first contact you, their propane provider, to discuss what kind of protections, payment options, budget plans, or other resources may be available to them.
We know that many households in our state are struggling financially due to layoffs, furloughs or other reasons. To help you inform your customers of the options available to them, the MPGA is sharing the following resources with you:
  • Visit https://www.heatingmyhome.org/
  • Call 2-1-1 or go to www.mi211.org for energy assistance information or to learn about agencies that can help with energy bills.
  • Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) through MI Bridges or by contacting your local MDHHS office. Households who qualify for SER also qualify for assistance through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), which providers supplemental bill payment assistance and energy self-sufficiency services. The State of Michigan has implemented changes to allow for faster processing of emergency requests and to make access to assistance benefits easier. Click here for more information about energy assistance.
  • Click here to use and share any of the graphics like the one shown above.

TSA Extends Exemption from Renewal of HME Security Threat Assessment

August 7, 2020
Last week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced they are extending a previous exemption related to the security threat assessment for renewal of commercial drivers’ hazardous materials endorsement (HME).
The original exemption was issued April 8, 2020 and scheduled to expire July 31, 2020. That exemption allowed states to extend by up to 180 days the expiration of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) HME that expired on or after March 1, 2020. The newly issued exemption gives states an additional 90 days (until October 29, 2020) to exercise the authority to extend the expiration date of a driver’s HME.
Note that if a state grants an extension, the driver with the expired HME must initiate the process of renewing their security threat assessment for the HME no later than 60 days before the end of the state-granted extension. As with the original exemption, the reason for this extension is that some states continue to face challenges maintaining operations at State Drivers Licensing Agencies due to the public health issues surrounding COVID-19.
You can view a copy of the TSA Notice here. For additional information, please contact Mike Caldarera. 

Toolkit to Help Workplaces Stay Safe

July 24, 2020
To further protect workers and the community, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s  Executive Order 2020-147 reiterates that businesses open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply with wearing a face covering. Under the governor’s order, businesses must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside – to assist employers with this requirement, a  print-ready poster is available online. LEO and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) have a set of online resources  that provides guidelines, posters for employees and customers, factsheets, educational videos and a reopening checklist  to keep workplaces safe.

Non-Essential Michigan Workers Ordered to Stay at Home: Propane industry NOT included in the order

March 23, 2020
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has just issued an order that all non-essential Michigan workers should remain in their homes beginning tomorrow, March 24th, through April 13th. To review the Michigan Stay at Home Order, please click here. Please note the closure of schools has been extended to April 13th as well.
Please be advised, the Michigan propane industry has been deemed an essential service. This means that Michigan retail propane operations and operations of those in the propane supply chain that make it possible for the propane industry to provide its services REMAIN ESSENTIAL to the state of Michigan. Likewise, this means that the MPGA and its members should continue to provide its services and propane fuel to those that rely on propane for their homes and businesses.
The MPGA continues to recommend that ALL MPGA members take the precautions to maintain social distancing, practicing the highest standards of hygiene, and frequently wash hands and surfaces at your workplaces. The MPGA also recommends members make adjustments to limit contact with your customers during home deliveries and at your retail operations. The MPGA recommends any members with showrooms discontinue those operations. The MPGA recommends members utilize more drop box payments and credit card payments to limit customer interaction. The MPGA also encourages all members to encourage your employees that are sick to remain at home. Above all, be smart with how you conduct yourselves, your employees and your operations during this crisis.
Please be advised that the MPGA will continue to place COVID related news updates on this page. The MPGA staff will remain at work but the staff be working from home. The best way to reach the MPGA will be vial email at [email protected]

Federal Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

March 20, 2020
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with other federal agencies, published guidance on “essential workers” for state and local authorities that have or are considering ‘shelter-in-place’ ordinances or similar restrictions on movement.
The intent of the guidance is to eliminate or minimize discrepancies in defining “essential workers” among state and local authorities so as to maintain operation of key industry sectors of the United States. NPGA communicated with the agencies to include propane employees among “essential workers” classifications. The guidance document identifies propane employees under the sectors for Energy as well as Transportation and Logistics, which are excerpted below:
Energy
  • Propane gas dispatch and control rooms and emergency response and customer emergencies, including propane leak calls
  • Propane gas service maintenance and restoration, including call centers
  • Processing, refining, and transporting natural liquids, including propane gas, for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing
  • Propane gas storage, transmission, and distribution centers
Transportation and Logistics
  • Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require cross-border travel)
  • Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and services
  • Automotive repair and maintenance facilities
  • Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers
It is suggested that workers keep a copy of the Guidance when entering areas under restrictions. The guidance is also available under the COVID-19 section of the Membership Dashboard. Please direct any questions to Sarah Reboli, NPGA Deputy Counsel, Regulatory Affairs.