Citing a near monopoly of the Island’s propane supply, a new player hopes to enter the Vineyard energy market this year.

John Rymes, owner of Rymes Propane & Oil, a family-owned business based in Pembroke, N.H., appeared before the Tisbury selectmen on Tuesday to request a license to store 16,500 gallons of propane on property owned by Goodale Construction off of High Point Lane in Vineyard Haven.

“We’re always looking for opportunities where companies have more than what we would think is reasonable for market share,” said Mr. Rymes.

Selectmen approved the license on the condition that Mr. Rymes install security cameras, after Tisbury resident Bill Straw said that he was concerned about a terrorist attack on the facility. The proposal is also currently being reviewed by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

In December AmeriGas, the country’s largest propane distributor, purchased Vineyard Propane’s parent company, Heritage Propane for $2.9 billion. Previously Vineyard Propane had served most of the Island’s needs, selling 10 million gallons of propane to AmeriGas’s one million gallons per year, and Island Propane’s one million gallons per year. Now, Mr. Rymes said, Amerigas controls 90 per cent of the Island’s market share, a development that has been felt in consumer pocketbooks.

“We’ve done a lot of market research out here and realized that the propane prices out here are probably as high as we’ve seen in the entire country if not probably the highest I’ve ever seen,” he said. “When I did the research I brought it back to my brothers and my CFO and they thought that I had made a mistake, that the prices couldn’t be that high. There are a lot of people, in our opinion, who are paying far too much for propane.”

At the end of March the average residential rate for propane nationwide was $2.87, according to statistics published by the U.S. Department of Energy. On Wednesday a representative at Vineyard Propane said that most residential customers, who use between 600 to 900 gallons and do not own their own tank, currently pay $3.80 per gallon. At Island Propane, for customers who use 600 to 1,000 gallons and do not own their own tank, that number was $3.70. For customers who own their own tank, Vineyard Propane charges $3.05 per gallon and Island Propane charges $3.20. This winter propane prices approached $5 a gallon on the Island. Mr. Rymes did not say how much cheaper he would be able to sell his propane, but said that customers were hungry for more options.

“Probably 100 people now have said, ‘Call me as soon as you get on the Island, I’d like to be a customer’,” he said.

Mr. Rymes said that at first his operation would consist of a portable tank and one delivery truck located on property near the town Park and Ride, but that he was currently in negotiation with Peter and Jerry Goodale and other parties to install a much larger facility on the Island in the future, possibly as soon as two years, while he works to establish a foothold in the market.

John Rancourt of Island Propane, the smaller of Mr. Rymes’s potential future competitors, spoke at the selectmen’s meeting objecting to the size of the facility and its proximity to power lines. Mr. Rymes countered that the power lines had been taken into account in siting the facility and that the tank would not be permitted by code to be placed underneath them.