Many companies are hurting financially because of the coronavirus. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse for these companies to take out their money woes on you, the consumer. Life is bad enough without any of these clowns putting the squeeze on their good paying customers. Such is the case with our propane provider of nineteen years.

For almost two decades our propane provider has been setting up our account with them on a budget paying basis. Each year they calculate how much propane we had used during the prior 12 months to heat our home and hot water, estimate the cost per propane gallon and divide by 11 months (they leave the last month open so that slow paying customers can bring their accounts up to date before the new billing period begins).

We use between 700 to 900 propane gallons per year. Lately, our provider had been basing their monthly budget planning on 900 gallons @$2.29 a gallon. That’s $2061 per year divided by 11 months equals $187.36 per month. This year, our propane supplier decided that they wanted the $2061 paid to them in 7 months rather than the 11. That means we had to cough up $294.43 a month, a whopping $107.07 more per month PLUS we’d be pre-paying in full BEFORE the year was even over!

We’re retired now and on fixed income. Getting hit with a $300 monthly propane bill, though doable, would nonetheless make our financial situation a bit painful.

Hubby is in negotiations with the company to re-sharpen their pencils and come to a more agreeable and equitable balanced budget plan but this recent episode has caused us to make other plans. For years hubby and I had tossed around the idea of getting either a wood burning stove or a pellet burning stove. I want the wood, since we live on 3.5 forested acres, the wood for us would be free and we would NOT be dependent on anyone or anything other than ourselves. Hubby wants a pellet stove because it burns cleaner (true, wood is a dirty mess) and the cost/installation is cheaper.

Classic pellet stove.

After this recent despicable encounter with our propane provider, I’m sorta leaning towards the pellet stove. Granted, yes, we’d still be beholden to the pellet provider but we’d be free to buy from any pellet provider. (since our propane provider supplied us with a free propane tank we have to order propane from them otherwise they’d come here and dig up and remove our propane tanks) You can buy a years worth of pellets for around $200. We can store them in the basement. Hubby would have to lug the stuff up the stairs. I could too BUT I’d have to make each trip as light as possible, thus more trips up and down the basement for me.

Truthfully, I don’t think we have much of a choice. Most of our neighbors have fireplaces or pellet stoves. Our house was supposed to get a fireplace but as the house was being built 19 odd years ago, the contractor forgot to put in the fireplace! Rather than delay the construction (3 months!) we proceeded to build without a fireplace. Big giant mistake in retrospect!

You have to make your life as self-sufficient as possible if you want to survive in this life of covid-19 (and beyond!). There are tons of bloodsuckers out there that if they get any hint that you have any money whatsoever, they are going to calculate and manipulate the extraction of that money out of your wallet as quickly as possible. We’ve been good customers for over 19 years, with never a late payment or a fee. The thanks we got for our responsible payments over two decades was a doubling of payments right smack dab in the grips of an upcoming brutal winter.

Live and learn.

This is exactly how we are going to position our own pellet stove: in the corner of our living room. Easy set up, minimal venting. Total cost should be around $2500 give or take. Hubby will do most of the work! Lowe’s carries the model we like and we’ll utilize zero interest financing.