As mercury drops, state offers options to red-tagged property owners

By Guy Page

The state of Vermont will work with the 1,625 Vermont property owners with “red-tagged” fuel tanks — those requiring repair or replacement before fuel can be delivered — to ensure they do not suffer as the mercury drops, administration officials said at Gov. Phil Scott’s press conference today.

Guy Page

Under a 2017 law, fuel dealers are prohibited from delivering heating fuel to homeowners whose fuel tanks have 1) not been inspected (except for fuel oil) or 2) have been inspected and found to need repair or replacement. The heating fuel industry in Vermont is booking into December to do inspections, repairs, and replacements.

Vermont Daily asked Gov. Scott, “1,625 property owners on the ‘red tag’ list need fuel tank replacement or repair before they can receive fuel oil deliveries. What is the status of providing temporary fuel storage tanks or other relief measures to help people living in these buildings stay warm?”

Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore responded, “We do have grant progarms for the cost of replacing their oil storage tanks. We understand there is a backup of contractors.”

Red-tagged property owners in the queue to have their tanks repaired or replaced should contact ANR to “make arrangments for limited fuel deliveries or alternative structures,” Moore said. She declined to specify if ‘alternative structures’ referred to temporary storage. The State of Vermont won’t let Vermonters be cold for lack of fuel storage, she said.

On Oct. 23, Scott said one option under review by the Department of Environmental Conservation is to provide temporary fuel storage to homeowners with “red tagged” or uninspected non-heating oil tanks, he said.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Vermont Fuel Dealers Association

9 thoughts on “As mercury drops, state offers options to red-tagged property owners

  1. They should have required all fuel oil companies to do ultrasonic tests on tanks. That would provide proof there is really a problem. Of course that would require some engineering and NDT know-how on the part of the state. I doubt if there is any.

  2. This red tag law is an opportunity for less than ethical inspectors and companies to make a significant profit. Think of the car inspection where the mechanic finds something wrong and offers a very expensive fix. I have seen reports of sound tanks being red tagged for bubbles in the paint or a vent pipe undersized.

    • Lester that is a good point.
      Peter says replacing a tank is about $2000. and for only a 175 gallon tank.
      I went over to the Home Depot site and I see a 275 gallon tank costs $596.00.
      So there is some price gouging here in this.
      We replaced our own tank with a Home Depot tank, Hubby and the plumbing guy did it and it took a couple hours, if that. It was no big deal and was no where near 2 grand.
      I think we paid him a couple hundred bucks and he took the tank and gave it to the scrap metal guy.. what is going on over there anyway?
      Vermont makes everything they can think of into a racket. Who keeps electing all these crooks?

      • Laura…….Sharp eyes, you found a typo in my post……Our correct tank size is 275 gallons. The installation price of $2,000 is correct, however, I did get a rebate from the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association of about $200…..The new tank was installed by our oil dealer about three years ago…….Just about the time the “Red Tag” went into effect.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if we found that the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association lobbied heavily and were 100% behind the “Red Tag” law as new replacement tank sales represent a very nice incremental revenue source for the fuel dealers…….Based on my experience, when I checked the market for new tank prices, all the dealers were quoting the around the same price…. $2,000……I wonder if anyone else had a similar experience?

        “Caveat Emptor”……….Still holds true.

  3. The State, in it’s wisdom has backed a segment of our population into a corner. There is a way out for everyone, with the state being made whole.
    1. State finances and is willing to change out the tank, with the willing property owner.

    2. State puts lein on property, to cover the bill. When property is sold, the state recovers its investment.

    3. The property owner is warm, and there is a guarantee of remuneration.

    If the state is willing to go on a limb for $4.5 billion,in the retirement fund, with no tangible protection, then the above should be a no brainer.

  4. It seems like they should look at who these 1625 people are and what their situation is.

    The elderly people can get some help as Seniors..
    Then you have some low income families probably.. so they get some help as low income people.
    You might have some that are broke because of the covid thing, and this is not normal, just bad timing. So maybe they can get some covid funds relief.
    Whoever is left that doesn’t have a pigeon hole, that group gets dealt with however you can figure that out. A lot of people today that have some money are looking for ways to help, well buy an oil barrel for someone you love. Organize a fundraiser.. where are the Greenies? what are they coughing up for help? they are the ones that come up with these brilliant ideas, show me how you are helping the people deal with your ideas now.

    AND it’s worth noting.
    When you buy a house, that means you need to put on your Big People Pants.. home ownership is a whole lot of endless work and responsibility. You’ve got to plan ahead, save and maintain this stuff.
    This is all just part of owning a home.

  5. It appears that when the “Red Tag” fuel tank law was enacted in 2017, no one in state government gave any thought what so ever as to how the law would be administered……Particularly for Vermonters without the resources to pay the $2,000 to replace a 175 gallon fuel tank.

    The State has had three years to prepare for a problem that should have been anticipated at the time the law was enacted. Instead, we’re now a few weeks away from winter and freezing temperatures with 1625 families in jeopardy.

    The cost of replacing the existing 1,625 “Red Tagged” tanks would be about $3.2 million…….Can’t this money be found somewhere in the $1.25 billion coming to Vermont for Covid? Maybe the consultant that the State is paying $750,000 to determine how the Covid money should be allocated can find a way to pay for these tanks and the others that will surely follow.

    If using temporary tanks is a serious option, the installers of the temporary tanks could instead install permanent tanks.

    What a mess……Now wait to see what happens when the unanticipated consequences of the Global Warming Solution Act start appearing in a few years…….The “Red Tag” problem will look like the good old days……..Again, what a mess, all brought to us from Montpelier.

Comments are closed.