Official offers tips to avoid propane price spikes

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - The chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission says people who heat their homes with propane should take steps to make sure they'll have a reliable supply during the cold season.

John Quackenbush says customers should sign contracts with providers that lock in a rate so they won't be hammered by price spikes if there's another shortage like the one last winter, when hundreds of people filed complaints of gouging.

He says people who need assistance with costs should call 211 and be connected with a local agency or nonprofit that can help.

Quackenbush says the public service commission is producing a consumer tipsheet with a list of things to consider before signing a contract. The agency will air public service announcements on radio and television.