Oilheat is under attack by state governments trying to use their legislative and regulatory oversight powers to advantage natural gas utilities to convert oilheated homes to natural gas.
Last fall, Connecticut was the first state to take such action. Governor Daniel Malloy introduced a "Comprehensive Energy Plan" that in part called for the conversion of 300,000 oilheated Connecticut homes to natural gas. To accomplish that Malloy proposed the expansion of the natural gas infrastructure in the state by more than 900 miles of new natural gas pipelines. Calling natural gas "cleaner, cheaper and more reliable" this overreach by state government ignores many important facts, the least of which is the fact that the current gas distribution system in the state has been neglected for years and is currently in a state of disrepair. With leaks that are harmful to the environment and threaten the safety of all state residents, utilities need to fix their existing infrastructure before expanding it, and neither should be done with taxpayer money. If you are a Connecticut resident or business owner, you need to voice your opposition to this plan. Go to the ICPA, now CEMA, website and use the tools there to send a message to your elected state representatives.
Following Connecticut's lead, New York State in November, acting through its Public Service Commission, ordered a study to identify policies and programs that could be amended to encourage conversion from oil to natural gas. The target numbers are higher in New York State, where the Commission has identified 550,000 homes that are within 100 feet of a gas pipeline, but do not heat with gas. According to the Commission, there are an additional 580,000 homes beyond 100 feet of a pipeline but within a utility's franchise area, bringing the total targeted oilheated homes to well over 1.1 million. The gas infrastructure in New York State has also been neglected for years and is in a similar state of disrepair. It too needs to be repaired and upgraded before any thought is given to extending it. If you live in New York State or have a business there, you too need to have your voice heard. Contact your local NY state oilheat association: ESPA, NYOHA or OHILI to join the fight.
Pennsylvania has also indicated that they plan a similar move, although they are not currently as far along as CT and NY. Surely more states will follow this lead, so we need to pay close attention to all state activities.
Ironically, just yesterday, both National Grid and Consolidated Edison instructed their interruptible customers to stop burning natural gas and begin burning oil, due to the weather turning cold. So these utilities that are colluding with states to help them steal oilheat customers, do not have the capacity to supply their current customer base when the outdoor temperature drops below 22 degrees. What will they do when they have 300,000 more customers on line in Connecticut and 1.1 million more in New York State.
These proposals are on a fast track in CT and NYS, and they threaten the Oilheat Industry like nothing before, and your help is needed. For more information, contact your local oilheat association and visit the AEC website at americanenergycoalition.org. And while there, please consider becoming an AEC Member Supporter by clicking on the "Make A Donation" button and making a secure online contribution.