Lakes Gas Co.

Founded in 1959 and based in Minnesota, Lakes Gas Co. serves 93,500 customers with propane through 49 outlets covering Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. The company bought four smaller local propane companies in 2012 and is still looking to expand.

Lakes Gas Co. summary

Comment

Recommendation

Region

Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan

Check that there is a local Lakes Gas office in your area.

Services

Propane, tanks and installation, appliances.

Ensure that the quote you ask for includes all your propane requirements (tank, appliances, etc.).

Safety

Very good information and training efforts.

Investigate the company’s safety history and record in your area.

Business reputation

Good.

Call your local Lakes Gas Co. office to find out how responsive they are.

Propane price

Depends on usage, region, climate, etc.

Look at propane price trends in your region to see whether the offered price per gallon is close to the average market price.

Delivery options

Will call and automatic delivery.

Decide whether you want to control when propane is delivered or whether you prefer automatic delivery.

Payment options

Pre-buy budget planning.

Choose between paying for propane in one or several installments, planning deliveries according to market prices or having a fixed price per gallon throughout the year by buying the propane you need in advance.

Lakes Gas Co. safety

Aside from a 24/7 emergency service number, Lakes Gas Co. promotes Propane Education and Research Council safety material for its consumers and offers high-quality training to its staff. These are the two main elements of propane safety: most propane-related accidents happen because the users or company employees manipulating propane equipment are not aware of the risks to avoid or precautions to take.

Lakes Gas Co. business reputation

Lakes Gas Co. has a good business reputation: when customers complain, it makes efforts to find an agreeable solution. However, your customer care quality will also depend on your local office and it is recommended that potential customers call their local office to find out how reliable and friendly the staff is.

Lakes Gas Co. prices

Like all other propane companies, Lakes Gas Co. customers’ propane prices are influenced by a combination of how much propane they use, how much propane is requested generally, weather conditions and the price of crude oil, of which propane is a byproduct.

Lakes Gas customers have the option of buying their propane in advance between May and October with the Pre-Buy program. The company encourages users to monitor propane pricing and order when the price is most advantageous for them. Remember: propane prices are much lower in the summer months and increase significantly in winter so this may be a worthwhile option to consider.

Over the same period (May-October), the Budget Program is similar because Lakes Gas Co. offers a capped price for a certain amount of propane ordered and paid for on a monthly basis.

The company offers $40 of free gas to customers recommending new propane users. At first glance, this may seem like an attractive offer but in fact, it represents little propane, especially for small propane users (for whom prices tend to be higher than for homes with large propane usage). If you are recommending a customer you may want to check how many gallons you are offered for this amount.

Lakes Gas Co. tanks

Lakes Gas Co. offers potential customers a large range of propane tanks. However, Lakes Gas Co. only leases tanks so if you are looking to buy your own tank you will have to contact an independent manufacturer.

However, Lakes Gas Co. advertizes complete installation, maintenance and inspection (Gas Check). Customers who rent their tank from the company will see their tank installed with a regulator, tank pads, and outside gas line.

The tank installation, maintenance and inspection service is free if customers use a minimum amount of propane as estimated when enrolling with Lakes Gas Co.

Lakes Gas Co. delivery options

Lakes Gas Co. offers the two classic forms of propane delivery. Users who want to monitor their own propane tank level and order propane when this level drops close to 20% are able to do so. While this may let you take advantage of better propane prices in the sense that you can plan deliveries for when propane is cheaper, it makes you run the risk of running out of gas if you do not order propane in time. Running out of propane requires a leak test and implies special delivery fees if propane is needed urgently after hours.

The company encourages customers to sign up for automatic delivery of propane, whereby propane usage is worked out on the basis of home configuration and weather conditions. Lakes Gas Co. then works out when you are likely to need propane (i.e., when your propane tank level is likely to drop to 20%) and schedules a delivery. This hassle-free option nevertheless implies that you are automatically charged market propane prices for the delivery day. Therefore, it is advisable to check propane price trends even if you are on automatic delivery.

Lakes Gas Co. payment options

Lakes Gas Co. customers are offered the possibility of ordering a certain amount of propane in advance, between May and October, and take advantage of lower summer propane prices. This Pre-Buy program can either be paid for up front or, with the Installment Pre-Buy option, by settling a 50% payment as you order and the rest in two installments one and two months after entering into the delivery agreement. This option costs a few cents more per gallon of propane ordered.

With the Lakes Gas Co. Budget Program, customer deliveries are paid for monthly in equal installments, which allows for better budget planning. The program rests on a usage estimate and automatic billing at the cash price, with a guarantee that this will not be higher than a capped price decided on for the duration of the contract. The contract must be initiated between May and October.

Lakes Gas Co. appliances

Lakes Gas Co. offers its customers a full range of propane appliances: furnaces, heaters (space, garage, pool, patio, etc.), water heaters, kitchen appliances, grills, washers and dryers, etc. New propane users should consider purchasing appliances from their propane company if this meets their needs. Indeed, it can be convenient to have one number to call from deliveries to maintenance – that of the company’s customer care service.