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      Snyder declares emergency over propane shortage

      Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has declared an emergency because of a temporary shortage of heating oil and propane caused by increased demand in recent subzero weather.

      Snyder said Friday the shortage also is due to heavy snowfall that delayed delivery of heating oil and propane.

      The governor's executive order suspends regulations to allow fuel trucks to be on the road more hours and more days in a row to deliver heating oil and propane.

      The order is effective immediately and will stay intact until Jan. 31 or until it's rescinded, whichever occurs first.

      Consumers Energy is also reporting record demand for natural gas by Michigan customers during this week's deep freeze.

      The unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. says it set a new hourly record for natural gas delivery on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., delivering 146,367 million cubic feet of natural gas to homes and businesses. That broke its previous record of 146,013 million set from 8 to 9 a.m. on Feb. 3, 1996.

      The utility also came close to its 24-hour record for natural gas delivery from 8 p.m. Monday to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Homes and businesses used 3.14 billion cubic feet of gas, missing of the record 3.18 billion used from 5 p.m. Jan. 18, 1994, to 5 p.m. Jan. 19, 1994.