Clean heat standard will have Vermonters paying 70 cents per gallon more to heat their homes

By Rob Roper

Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore pulled back the veil on what the cost of the proposed Clean Heat Standard, S.5, would cost Vermonters — and it’s a really big check.

Moore calculates that the $2 billion-plus program over the remainder of the decade will mean an additional 70¢ per gallon for home heating fuels. Given that the average Vermont household uses 700 gallons of fuel oil per year, the Clean Heat Standard represents for the average family a $500 per year carbon tax to stay warm in winter. This Moore says will rise steadily as Vermonters use fewer fossil fuels as a result of the program, but she hasn’t modeled out what those future cost impacts might be.

Moore arrived at her figures by identifying the costs of actions that would need to take place under the law, should it pass, adding up those receipts, and, after accounting for federal money, and costs borne by private entities, and determined what the impact would be on the 250 million gallons of fossil-based heating fuels Vermonters use each year to raise that much revenue.

The Clean Heat requirements Moore cites are, by 2030: 85,000 homes weatherized at $10,500 each ($890 million), 145,000 heat pumps installed at $5,000 each ($725 million), and 125,000 heat pump hot water heaters at $3,000 each ($375 million) for an estimated gross cost: $2.0 billion.

But here is why Moore’s estimate is a low ball.

As she admits, it her numbers do not include administrative costs of running the Clean Heat Standard, which, given the complexity of the program and the credit system it imposes, will certainly run into the tens of millions annually.

Nor do her numbers reflect other categories of actions called for under the Clean Heat standard. Although weatherization, heat pumps, and water heat pumps are the big three, S.5 calls for measures to take place across eleven specific categories of action, including replacing appliances (gas stoves, etc.), installing solar water heating systems, advanced wood heating, and even using green hydrogen.

She assumes that fuel dealers will absorb 25 percent of the cost of the credits, passing on just 75 percent to customers. That seems like a lot to eat, especially for the small mom and pop fuel dealers in Vermont.

Additionally, and this is a considerable absence, Moore’s numbers don’t account for the cost of any social safety net programs that will be necessary to mitigate the impact of higher prices on low income Vermonters – either for those still using fossil fuels by choice or necessity or for those who will experience spiking electric bills as a result of switching.

S.5 is explicit in demanding that “it shall minimize adverse impacts to customers with low income and moderate income….” The bill doesn’t say how to do this, but it must be done. For fossil fuel customers the federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) already exists, though it would surely need companion state program to cover these increased costs. However, there is no LIHEAP equivalent for electric bills. That program would have to be created from whole cloth, and how much it would cost and where the money would come from is anybody’s guess. For the winter of 2021-22, LIHEAP subsidies in Vermont came to $47 million.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Image courtesy of Public domain

15 thoughts on “Clean heat standard will have Vermonters paying 70 cents per gallon more to heat their homes

  1. Make no mistake, this Legislature and Adminstration is on the prowl to squeeze every dime and nickel out of taxpayers. It matters not the cause or reason. As long as you live here, work here, or own property here, they will make you pay by hook or by crook (emphasis on “crook”.) If they could get away with it, they would rummage through your vehicle console for loose change. Perhaps that is planned for the next session. They will include turning over your couch cushions and confiscating your child’s piggy bank. Above all, they will label you a racist homophobe if you don’t comply and consent to their thievery.

  2. The real problem has nothing to do with climate change it has everything to do with INFLATION.
    The reason we have inflation is uncontrolled government spending, pure and simple.
    Being able to print your own money is great but it always ends the same way, the currency is debased and becomes worth less so everything costs more. In order to sell the debt interest rates have to be raised.
    It happened to the Romans and now it is happening here.
    The pain is just beginning and the barbarians are already at the gate.

  3. From a good Op-Ed I spotted today…It’s all a Cult Climate religion and the majority of VT population falls for it. You can’t fix stupid….it’s a religion 🙂

    “Jews eat kosher, Muslims have halal, Hindus eschew meat, and many Christians fast during Lent. So naturally, the fastest-growing religion today — earth and climate worship — is developing its own faith-based dietary restrictions.

    “Climatarians” (also called “reducitarians” or “climavores”) are people who make their food choices based on how what they eat will impact the earth, with the aim of reducing their carbon “foodprint.” The Earthist version of original sin is that, simply by living, people commit climate sin every time they eat, breathe, travel, and heat or cool their homes….And as the older religious faiths are gradually supplanted by the Church of the Climate, societal changes are in the works that reflect and support the new religion…

  4. If they really wanted to change the climate, they would start with banning jet travel in and out of Vermont, and ban all products made in China and India from being sold in Vermont.

  5. Red states are calling. You cannot imagine how good it feels to not be under the lib/prog yoke of oppression until you cast it off.


    One heat pump with one head per AVERAGE VERMONT house will displace only about 27% of the fossil Btus with electricity Btus, as proven by the CADMUS SURVEY of 77 HPs at 65 sites in Vermont


    About 2300 sq ft of my well-insulated/sealed house is heated with 3 HPs, with 3 heads to cover the downstairs rooms; the other 3 heads, to cool the bedrooms, are upstairs. I displace only 35% of fossil Btus with electricity Btus.


    You 2000 sq ft house would have to be highly sealed/insulated, with open floor plan, and with much passive solar gain, for 2 HPs to provide the smallish quantities of space heat.

    Vermont’s weatherizing program is loved by apartment building owners.
    It is a small, feel-good, boondoggle, band-aid on a big wound

  7. Hey Vermont, this is what you get when you put inept liberals in charge, they only
    care about their agenda, you’re well-being, and financial security means nothing,
    they just don’t care !!

    Vermont has cancer, it’s the progressives within the statehouse, wake up people
    before they kill you and the state ………………………

  8. This is a direct assault on middle income and poor Vermonters. The leftist climate hoax morons have more feelings for their stupid hoax then they do for the citizens. The poor will actually get more subsidy from the gov to still purchase theirs but the middle class will be stuck with not being able to afford a inefficient heat pump and over priced EV’s that are earth/people destroying and now higher cost to stay warm. Wake up stupid voters the commies in the legislature are traitors to VT. More reason to get the hell out of dodge..

  9. I’m purchasing a propane truck that will get filled in New Hampshire and brought back to Vermont for my neighbors and us. Let’s see how they deal with that.

    • I’ll be buying oil in Ma and NH. — I already burn wood that I usually get out the National Forest, and use maybe 50 gal of oil over a winter, and 100 more for hot water in the warm weather. Getting it 5 gal cans is not a big deal. The commies belong in hell.

  10. All part of the bigger NWO/WEF plan, literally bring us to our knees financially….make us dependent on govt then they have complete control of us.

  11. How can progressives be so stupid, clueless, obtuse, mentally deficient, out-of-touch, etc, etc, etc……?
    Climate change panic is ludicrous. What we do here makes no difference but these lawmakers are going to bury Vermonters, why? Because they’re uneducated? China and India aren’t changing and getting rich doing what they do with no regard for the environment. Vermont…the pimple on the world’s ass is going to destroy its citizens because we make a difference? We don’t.

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