Gov. Scott Walker Thursday approved a loan guarantee program to provide emergency heating assistance to those affected by this winter’s severe propane fuel shortage, according to statement from Walker’s office.

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority will make loans of up to $2,500 available to families and individuals to purchase fuel to heat their homes. The authority will also guarantee they will subsidize 50 to 80 percent of the original amount borrowed for these loans.

“The propane shortage affected residents and business owners all around the state, and left many with unexpectedly high heating bills that they cannot pay in full,” Walker said in the statement.  “This emergency heating assistance loan guarantee program will help families make ends meet and offers some relief from the burden created by the propane crisis.”

While prices had fallen to $3.68 per gallon by mid-February, this winter saw a propane shortage throughout the Midwest region, with prices approaching $6.00 per gallon, about $4.00 more than the usual price.

The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 94-1 and unanimously in the Senate.

[Photo from Flickr user teofilo]