Several posters have been excited by the prospect of rising energy costs. Rising propane prices might or might not help. Rising residential prices don't help if NRGY's cost rises more. This would depress margins. If residential prices 22 percent, households will try to restrain purchases by turning down the thermostats and taking conservation measures. There is the potential for lower margins and lower volumnes. I am optimistic about the company and agree that management is smart. However, rising retail prices could actually hurt performance.
Maybe I should not say this, but : I assume NRGY has a hedging system to control propane costs. I still like the fact they raised their dividend again. 29 bucks a share by Feb 3 does not seem unreasonable.
Long term, higher retail prices to the homeowner can help the company, especially if wholesale prices go down in the future. Yes, there may be some short term squeeze on margins as wholesale prices rise but the company will be slow to lower prices to consumers as wholesale prices fall, therefore recouping the original margin squeeze. With the prospect of wholesale prices falling as we head into the winter and peak demand, this will only help the company.
Hope you are right about the hedging. They could have bought propane forward or purchased options. The other other would be a weather hedge - degree day swaps or options - to protect against a drop in demand.