Propane prices have nearly doubled in the past couple of weeks due to a propane shortage in the Midwest. The Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the areas hard hit by the increase in propane prices.
Mildred Hazel Thunder Bull, 87, says she is doing her best to stay warm and conserve her propane. "We're barely making it on our propane," said Thunder Bull.
The great grandmother is on a fixed-income, and most of that is going toward propane and groceries. "First thing, when I get my money, I make sure my bills are paid and I make sure I keep up with the propane," said Thunder Bull.
According to representatives of the Lakota Plains Propane company, which distributes propane to most of the reservation, the minimum amount of propane went from $120 to $200 for 52.6 gallons of propane.
A residential tank holds about 500 gallons. "There are a lot of people out there young and old that are freezing, they're out of propane," said Thunder Bull.
Thunder Bull gets help from friends to get through the winter months but she is concerned about others on the reservation. "I wonder how they are making out. I'm pretty sure most of their money goes to propane," said Thunder Bull.
Lakota Plains Propane representatives say that some are receiving assistance for propane from the Tribal Council and districts.
According to Lakota Plains Propane, the average household uses three to three gallons of propane a day.