The commissioner of commerce shall operate, or contract to operate, a propane fuel prepurchase fuel program. The commissioner may contract at any time of the year to purchase the lesser of one-third of the liquid propane fuel consumed by low-income home energy assistance program recipients during the previous heating season or the amount that can be purchased with available funds. The propane fuel prepurchase program must be available statewide through each local agency that administers the energy assistance program. The commissioner may decide to limit or not engage in prepurchasing if the commissioner finds that there is a reasonable likelihood that prepurchasing will not provide fuel-cost savings.
The commissioner may establish a hedge account with realized program savings due to prepurchasing. The account must be used to compensate program recipients an amount up to the difference in cost for fuel provided to the recipient if winter-delivered fuel prices are lower than the prepurchase or summer-fill price. No more than ten percent of the aggregate prepurchase program savings may be used to establish the hedge account.
The Department of Commerce shall issue a report by June 30, 2008, made available electronically on its Web site and in print upon request, that contains the following information:
(1) the cost per gallon of prepurchased fuel;
(2) the total gallons of fuel prepurchased;
(3) the average cost of propane each month between October and the following April;
(4) the number of energy assistance program households receiving prepurchased fuel; and
(5) the average savings accruing or benefit increase provided to energy assistance households.