Are Propane Firms In Connecticut Play...

Are Propane Firms In Connecticut Playing Fair On Taxes?

There are 35 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Jan 25, 2009, titled Are Propane Firms In Connecticut Playing Fair On Taxes?. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

This column is part of a continuing series shedding light on the least transparent energy industry in the country: propane gas.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

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Colon McEnroe

United States

#1 Jan 25, 2009
Something stinks worse than the propane here. Oh yeah, it is the crooked propane companies. This should go forth to the Attorney General, Department of Consumer Protection, and to the Chief State Prosecutors in all the districts that these crooked companies do business in.
Ted K

Marlborough, CT

#2 Jan 25, 2009
The article didn't mention East Hampton, at Laurel Ridge there are quite a few Bemer tanks, they are owned by Bemer and leased by the homeowners. Check it out East Hampton.
greg

Oakdale, CT

#3 Jan 25, 2009
Congrats to Capt. Board. Never underestimate an upset customer. Where are the town tax collectors in all this?
Byron25

Old Lyme, CT

#4 Jan 25, 2009
While I applaud the efforts to bring this to light unfortunately the imposition of local property taxes on the tanks will only increase the cost to the consumer as the Bemers of the world will just pass the taxes on to the consumer.
GEO

United States

#5 Jan 25, 2009
Byron25 wrote:
While I applaud the efforts to bring this to light unfortunately the imposition of local property taxes on the tanks will only increase the cost to the consumer as the Bemers of the world will just pass the taxes on to the consumer.
Then they will complain about the price. Well then they can thank the whisle blower for their increased heating costs. A tank is a tank not property. boy the govt is going to start taxing the air soon. weight x days breathing @2%=
DJH

“Thinking critically since 1964”

Since: Mar 07

Winsted, CT

#6 Jan 25, 2009
I find it difficult to believe that a propane tank -- even those underground, which would have telltale fillpipes -- can have gone unnoticed for very long. Every property in CT gets a revaluation inspection, at least once every 10 years. Why aren't the revaluators finding and reporting them to the assessors?
DJH

“Thinking critically since 1964”

Since: Mar 07

Winsted, CT

#7 Jan 25, 2009
Byron25 wrote:
While I applaud the efforts to bring this to light unfortunately the imposition of local property taxes on the tanks will only increase the cost to the consumer as the Bemers of the world will just pass the taxes on to the consumer.
Uh, a couple things to remember:

1. The tax was ALREADY owed. It is not a "new" cost being imposed on propane dealers. It is, in fact, a very OLD cost that dealers knew about, LONG AGO.

2. People have been charged for tank leases under the premise of the tax being owed and having been paid. In other words, any tax owed should ALREADY have been "passed along" to the consumer.

The point here is that propane companies that don't report their tanks to the towns, are committing fraud, not only against the towns (which never get those taxes paid) and against consumers (who are charged an amount that includes taxes anyway).
Ted K

Marlborough, CT

#8 Jan 25, 2009
Do you think Bemer's is reading these posts and adding the negative comments?? If so, pay your taxes and be done with it, they are charging for the tax, now pay it.
Chris

Essex Junction, VT

#9 Jan 25, 2009
Ted K wrote:
The article didn't mention East Hampton, at Laurel Ridge there are quite a few Bemer tanks, they are owned by Bemer and leased by the homeowners. Check it out East Hampton.
Some of these tanks may be at the end of their useful life with a very small value. The tanks I've used over the years have been repainted, never new.
Ted K

Woodbury, CT

#10 Jan 26, 2009
Chris wrote:
<quoted text>
Some of these tanks may be at the end of their useful life with a very small value. The tanks I've used over the years have been repainted, never new.
Chris, Laurel Ridge is still under construction, we looked at a home there as recently as last month. They have one tank for every two houses, owned by Bemer, underground and with a meter to each house. These tanks are new. Regardless of age, taxes are still due.
Bill

Newington, CT

#11 Jan 26, 2009
Byron25 wrote:
While I applaud the efforts to bring this to light unfortunately the imposition of local property taxes on the tanks will only increase the cost to the consumer as the Bemers of the world will just pass the taxes on to the consumer.
Ahh so it's ok to break the law. Cheat a knowledgable consumer and watch out. This is going to cause Bemers to go out of business. Go Capt Board!!!!!!!!!!
greg

Oakdale, CT

#12 Jan 26, 2009
I got to admit I have a sudden urge to down to Town Hall and check things out in my hometown...
John

Newington, CT

#13 Jan 26, 2009
Chris wrote:
<quoted text>
Some of these tanks may be at the end of their useful life with a very small value. The tanks I've used over the years have been repainted, never new.
Last time I checked the owner of the property doesn't tell the assessor what the value is, the assessor tells the property owner what the value is. I like this. Things are coming home to roost nicely.
Chris

Essex Junction, VT

#14 Jan 26, 2009
Ted K wrote:
<quoted text>Chris, Laurel Ridge is still under construction, we looked at a home there as recently as last month. They have one tank for every two houses, owned by Bemer, underground and with a meter to each house. These tanks are new. Regardless of age, taxes are still due.
I'm surprised that builders haven't wisened up yet.

Even the most efficient propane system will cost the homeowner significantly more in the long run. Natural gas is less but not available in East Hampton; geothermal is much less but more expensive to install. The builder puts in a cheap system on his end and you pay through the nose forever.

BTW, if you lease the tank, the taxes are usually part of that lease fee. That's how it works with leased business equipment.
Ted K

Gales Ferry, CT

#15 Jan 27, 2009
Chris wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm surprised that builders haven't wisened up yet.
Even the most efficient propane system will cost the homeowner significantly more in the long run. Natural gas is less but not available in East Hampton; geothermal is much less but more expensive to install. The builder puts in a cheap system on his end and you pay through the nose forever.
BTW, if you lease the tank, the taxes are usually part of that lease fee. That's how it works with leased business equipment.
Chris, to answer your last paragraph, you are correct, the taxes are part of the lease fee, however, Bemer is keeping the entire lease fee and not paying the towns the tax, wouldn't a good discription be tax fraud? We also looked at some homes in Somers, each house had it's own propane tank, owned by the home owner, I liked this idea better because you were not held captive by any company, you could shop around.
Propane Scams

Middletown, CT

#16 Jan 27, 2009
I applaud watchdog. And for an honest and inexpensive Propane distributor, check out State Line Propane in Granby. Superior customer service and extremely helpful. We just "fired" the place we used in South Windsor when they wanted to charge us over $5.00/gallon. We had heard the Granby company was a great company to deal with, we are cutting our annual costs by 2/3rds. Shame on the propane companies for residents who need smaller 100 gallon tanks. I'm just waiting for the bill from the South Windsor place for having to remove my rented tank to forward to watch dog. Absurd!
CHRISTINE

South Windsor, CT

#17 Jan 27, 2009
I have to say that I have been reading your column as of late and I am appalled at your ignorance. You seem to enjoy propelling complaints of the propane industry and it's practices without obtaining the facts. Just by advising your readers to purchase a 40 pound propane tank from home depot and connecting it themselves to replace the high cost of being a low volume user is idiotic and irresponsible advice. These connections are NOT the same as what a bbq grill would be. They involve high and low pressure regulators as well as various connections that only a licensed service technician should be servicing. Just three months ago there were three separate incidents involving propane, one a catastrophe as a gentleman died as a result. I understand that you feel are are doing justice in fighting for the consumer, but the consumer should be aware of the facts, not just the friction which you seem to enjoy. Any propane consumer can be educated to the practices of propane by googling "Propane 101". Unfortunately, many consumers are not aware of the high cost involved with operating a propane business. And until you actually publish any of the letters sent to you by propane officials within this state, I guess they will continue to believe whatever you tell them.
Yup

Manchester, CT

#18 Jan 27, 2009
CHRISTINE wrote:
I have to say that I have been reading your column as of late and I am appalled at your ignorance. You seem to enjoy propelling complaints of the propane industry and it's practices without obtaining the facts. Just by advising your readers to purchase a 40 pound propane tank from home depot and connecting it themselves to replace the high cost of being a low volume user is idiotic and irresponsible advice. These connections are NOT the same as what a bbq grill would be. They involve high and low pressure regulators as well as various connections that only a licensed service technician should be servicing. Just three months ago there were three separate incidents involving propane, one a catastrophe as a gentleman died as a result. I understand that you feel are are doing justice in fighting for the consumer, but the consumer should be aware of the facts, not just the friction which you seem to enjoy. Any propane consumer can be educated to the practices of propane by googling "Propane 101". Unfortunately, many consumers are not aware of the high cost involved with operating a propane business. And until you actually publish any of the letters sent to you by propane officials within this state, I guess they will continue to believe whatever you tell them.
Ah yes, you must be from the well known Propane Co in South Windsor. The same company that quoted me two different prices when I called during the summer, once as a "regular"customer and once as a "new" customer. There was quite a difference between prices too......
DJH

United States

#19 Jan 27, 2009
CHRISTINE wrote:
Just three months ago there were three separate incidents involving propane, one a catastrophe as a gentleman died as a result.
That wouldn't have happened, if propane companies didn't "lock down" homeowners, would it? Do you propane dealers honestly expect to hold monopoly power over people's propane tanks and have them just capitulate to you automatically?

I note you don't defend the practice of not reporting the presence of tanks to assessors or paying property taxes on them, which is the subject of this article. Hmm. Are we trying to dodge the issue?
CHRISTINE

South Windsor, CT

#20 Jan 27, 2009
DJH wrote:
<quoted text>
That wouldn't have happened, if propane companies didn't "lock down" homeowners, would it? Do you propane dealers honestly expect to hold monopoly power over people's propane tanks and have them just capitulate to you automatically?
I note you don't defend the practice of not reporting the presence of tanks to assessors or paying property taxes on them, which is the subject of this article. Hmm. Are we trying to dodge the issue?
I did not address the issue of Bemer's for it is their mess to clean up, I was concerned for the safety of ignorant people, as I said google Propane 101 to find out the facts for yourself]

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