Despite pressure, Democrat won’t change vote supporting clean heat standard veto

By Guy Page

A Democrat who voted Tuesday to uphold Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of H.715, the Clean Heat Standard, is resisting efforts by Democratic House leadership to get him to reverse his vote and override the veto.

state of Vermont

Rep. Thomas Bock, D-Chester

But Rep. Tom Bock, representing Chester and Springfield, told Vermont Daily Chronicle on Wednesday, “I’m not changing my vote.” He’s voting according to his constituents’ wishes, he said. Bock said he supports carbon emissions reduction but not the process outlined by H.715 — a large, somewhat vague plan to replace traditional home heating fuel with electric heat pumps and weatherization.

The House on Tuesday voted 99-51 on the override question. One hundred votes are needed to override, so the question failed. Bock was a “no,” much to the surprise of House leadership. Almost immediately, Rep. Bock reportedly experienced serious pressure from the House Democratic leadership to change his vote — something allowed under little-known House rules. A member may ask that his/her vote be reconsidered during the following day’s session.

Wednesday morning a “spirited” conversation with House Speaker Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) left him unpersuaded, Bock said.

According to veteran House members, Bock could have stood during the “announcements” section of the morning session and informed his fellow lawmakers he intended to change his vote. After several pedestrian announcements, Speaker Krowinski asked several times: “Are there any more announcements?” each time followed by a long pause and a searching gaze around the chamber.

Bock did not stand. There were no more announcements. Krowinski then moved on to the next order of business. The session adjourned at 11:39 pm and is scheduled to return Wednesday afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon, Bock — who will not be seeking re-election and plans to move from Chester to Malletts Bay in Colchester — was sitting at a picnic table outside, talking about his support for the veto with the media, while many appreciative Republicans stood by.

Bock explained then that he had been thinking a lot about problems with the Clean Heat Standard in recent days, and only the night before had decided to support the veto. “I cannot imagine why I would change my vote,” Bock told the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Bock has been an independent member of the Democratic caucus. For example, he spoke out forcefully against the legalization and licensed retail sale of marijuana.

The Clean Heat Standard may be revisited during the next session of the Legislature. Gov. Phil Scott said that provided the Legislature requires an up or down vote on the Public Utilities Commission plan due out by July 2024, he would sign a revised Clean Heat Standard.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont
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13 thoughts on “Despite pressure, Democrat won’t change vote supporting clean heat standard veto

  1. Well thank you Mr. Bock. As a homeowner in Chester, I haven’t thought much of you and your party. Passage of this bill would send my oil heating bill through the roof and we wouldn’t be able to be warm in the winter. We are having enough problem as it is with oil at $6 a gallon. I know you will not be running again so you pulled a “Joe Manchin” on your way out. I applaud you today. Not all democrats are idiots.

  2. Well done Tom Bock standing up the heartless dem’s who care more for their agenda
    then the citizens they represent. This is just a continuation of their need to punish us for
    using fossil fuel which is or should I say pre potato head was cheap and plentiful and
    moving to more inefficient means of heating our homes which means less heat for more money. It’s past time for the ignorant voters
    who continue to vote these charlatans in to look at their wallet and figure out who’s stealing
    their money and for what results

  3. Wow, a Vermont Democrat with common sense, and supporting his constituants that
    already feel the ” TAX ” burden within the state and knowing this boondoggle of a bill
    will only strap them harder for an agenda that will not sustain it’s self it’s just another
    liberal pipedream…………. look at us, we are and your inept !!

    Progressive DemocRATs, are a finanical cancer for the state and it’s citizens !!

  4. Thank you Rep. Bock. And thanks for your service to Vermont. Good luck in your retirement. God bless you and your family.

    Gregory Thayer
    Candidate for Vermont LT Governor.
    Rutland

  5. The clean heat standard is putting the cart before the horse.

    First, Vermont must have highly sealed and highly insulated houses, and be arranged for passive solar gain.

    After that, heat pumps can be installed.

    Heat pumps will ECONOMICALLY displace a high percentage of fossil fuel Btus, ONLY IF A HOUSE IS HIGHLY SEALED AND HIGHLY INSULATED

    In my well-sealed and well-insulated house, I have ECONOMICALLY DISPLACED ONLY 35% of my fossil fuel Btus.

    After two years of data, my energy cost savings were about $200/y.

    If I amortized my $24,000 investment in 3 heat pumps with 6 heads, the annual payment would be at least $2000/y, which would completely wipe out any energy cost savings.

    In the AVERAGE Vermont house with a heat pump, only 29% of fossil Btus are displaced, as proven by the CADMUS survey of about 76 heat pumps at 66 sites.

    Cadmus performed the study under a contract with VT-DPS

    VT-DPS was ordered by the legislature to obtain such an “ independent” study, because many people had complained, they did not get anywhere near the energy cost savings stated on websites, etc., of GMP, BED, VPIRG, VT-DPS, EAN, etc., all likely with self-serving interests.

    The report was written in such a confusing way, that, unless you have a mechanical engineering degree, with applicable experience, the average Vermonter, including almost all legislators, would not be informed by it.

    I do have the degree and experience, so I could analyze it.

    My conclusion is, the report is filled with obfuscation from start to finish

    • Addition to above comment.

      This addition should be read by the Environment and Energy Committee and all legislators, so they understand the short comings of heat pumps a low temperatures, when operating houses, other than highly sealed and highly insulated houses.

      EXCERPT from:

      COST SAVINGS OF AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS ARE NEGATIVE IN VERMONT, MAINE, ETC.
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-savings-of-air-source-heat-pumps-are-negative-in-vermont

      CADMUS SURVEY OF HOUSES WITH ASHPs

      CADMUS, an energy consultant hired by the Vermont Department of Public Service in 2017, performed a survey of 77 ASHPs at 65 sites in Vermont.

      It uses a standard HVAC computer program that takes the hourly temperature history of a heating season (obtained from weather data), and allocates the frequency and duration of temperatures to two-degree temperature slots, also called “bins”. See horizontal line of figure 14.
      The heat to a site is calculated for each two-degree bin, say 34F – 36F.
      The total heat to a site is obtained by adding the heats for all temperature bins.

      72.4% of Space Heat from Traditional Systems and 27.6% from ASHPs

      CADMUS calculated:

      – Heat to each site was 92 million Btu, of which 25.35 million from ASHPs, and 66.65 million from other fuels
      – Space heat to all sites was 65 sites x 92 million Btu/site = 5,980 million Btu from all fuels. See URL, page 22
      – Heat from ASHPs was 77 ASHPs x 21.4 million Btu/ASHP = 1,648 million Btu. See URL, page 21
      – Traditional systems provided 5980 – 1648 = 4,332 million Btu, or 4332/5980 = 72.4% of the total space heat.
      – ASHPs provided only 100 – 72.4 = 27.6% of the total space heat

      https://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/2017%20Evaluation%20of%20Cold%20Climate%20Heat%20Pumps%20in%20Vermont.pdf

      No wonder the energy cost savings were an average of about $200/ASHP per year, instead of the $1200/y to $1800/y bandied about by GMP, VT-DPS, VPIRG, etc. After the CADMUS report, those estimates disappeared from booster websites. See URLs.

      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/air-source-heat-pumps-and-wood-burning-appliances-for-vermont
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fact-checking-regarding-heat-pumps-in-vermont-and-maine
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-baseless-claims-about-cold-climate-heat-pumps-for

      The CADMUS report data is summarized in table 4, which I cannot reproduce here.

      My three ASHPs displace about 35% of the total space heat, because my house is well-sealed, and well-insulated, and has good solar gain.

      THE HIGHER THE LEVEL OF SEALING AND INSULATION, THE HIGHER THE PERCENTAGE OF DISPLACED FUEL.

      • Willem:

        For years, you have been publicly and repeatedly raising critical issues relating to climate change solutions that would affect every citizen in Vermont to include our legislators. Issues that need to be answered before before the mandates of the Global Warming Solutions Act and the Clean Heat Standard are unleashed on all Vermonters.

        You have raised technical issues, everyday common sense and pocketbook driven issues that impact all Vermonters. Vermonters who drive cars/trucks, heat homes, run businesses, rely on Vermont businesses for needed services and goods, hospitals , schools, churches and all places of worship, recreational facilities and the list goes on and on.

        My questions to you are:

        1. Has anyone from the Vermont Legislature ever come forward to you and asked for more information on the points you’ve raised or asked you testify on your concerns?

        2. Has anyone in the legislature ever rebutted the concerns you’ve raised and pointed out where you are wrong?

        3. Has anyone from the advocacy groups pushing climate change legislation such as VPRIG, 350.Org, the CLF or any other group reached out to you for more information or to rebut our concerns?

        4. Has anyone from the renewable energy and related industries reached out and rebutted your concerns?

        If the above groups have not reached out to you for more information or to rebut your concerns…….We have a system in Vermont that is corrupt and uninterested in the welfare of all Vermonters…….It is a system focused only on the welfare of the special interest groups……..This is wrong and needs attention.

        • Peter,
          I summarized my comments in a brief article

          AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS DO NOT ECONOMICCALLY DISPLACE FOSSIL FUEL BTUs IN COLD CLIMATES
          https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/air-source-heat-pumps-do-not-economiccally-displace-fossil-fuel

          This comment should be read by the Environment and Energy Committee and all legislators, so they understand the short comings of
          AIR SOURCE heat pumps low temperatures, when operated in houses, other than highly sealed and highly insulated houses.

          AIR SOURCE heat pumps will not ECONOMICALLY displace 100% of fossil Btu in existing Vermont buildings, weatherized or not.

          The VERMONT clean heating standard, CHS, modified or not, is putting the horse behind the cart.

          You have to build highly sealed, highly insulated buildings, that are arranged for passive solar, THEN you install GROUND source heat pumps, if you want to ECONOMICCALLY displace 100% of fossil fuels.
          Such buildings would use 1/3 of the energy of existing Vermont buildings
          GROUND source heat pumps are efficient on a year-round basis, even when it is minus 30F outside; my brother has them in Norway.
          The above is done in Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc. It is the only rational/engineering approach.

          Governor Scott talking about modifying the CHS, and “leaning towards approval of CHS” is skating on very thin ice.
          It is letting the CHS nose of the camel into the tent.
          It is a fool’s errand, a feel-good, political approach.
          It has nothing to do with common engineering sense.

          Vermont needs an enforced BUILDING CODE for ALL buildings with R-40 walls, R-60 roofs, R-10 doors, R-7 triple-pane windows, R-20 basement, air-to-air heat recovery system, highly sealed and highly insulated, and arranged for passive solar.
          Such buildings would use 1/3 of the energy of existing Vermont buildings
          With GROUND SOURCE heat pumps, they would yield a much better CO2 reduction than air source heat pumps ever could.

          Please read these articles, to get up to speed.
          VERMONT’S GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS ACT, A DISASTER IN THE MAKING
          https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-s-global-warming-solutions-act-a-disaster-in-the-making
          THE GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS ACT A DECADES-LONG BURDEN ON VERMONT
          https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-global-warming-solutions-act-a-decades-long-burden-on-vermont

          My House

          In my well-sealed and well-insulated house, with 3 Mitsubishi air source heat pumps with 6 heads, after two years of operating data:

          – My ASHPs provided 35% of the total space heat
          – My energy cost savings were about $200/y

          If I amortized my $24,000 investment in the heat pumps, the annual payment would be at least $2000/y, which would completely wipe out any energy cost savings.

          Average Vermont House

          CADMUS, an energy consultant hired by the Vermont Department of Public Service in 2017, performed a survey of 77 ASHPs at 65 sites, in Vermont.
          https://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/EVT%202018%20Savings%20Verification%20Report%202019.07.01.pdf

          VT-DPS was ordered by the legislature to obtain such an “independent” study, because many people had complained, they did not get anywhere near the energy cost savings stated on websites, etc., of GMP, BED, VPIRG, VT-DPS, EAN, EFFICIENCY VERMONT, etc.,

          The CADMUS report was written in such a confusing way, the average Vermonter, including almost all legislators, would not be informed by it, unless they had a mechanical engineering degree, with applicable experience.
          I do have the degree and experience, so I could analyze it.

          EXCERPT from:
          COST SAVINGS OF AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS ARE NEGATIVE IN VERMONT, MAINE, ETC.
          http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-savings-of-air-source-heat-pumps-are-negative-in-vermont

          CADMUS used a standard HVAC computer program that takes the hourly temperature history of a heating season (obtained from weather data), and allocates the frequency and duration of temperatures to two-degree temperature intervals, also called “bins”.
          See horizontal line of figure 14 of CADMUS report.

          The heat to a site is calculated for each two-degree bin, say 34F – 36F
          The total heat to a site is obtained by adding the heats for all two-degree bins.

          CADMUS calculated:
          – Heat to each site was 92 million Btu, of which 25.35 million from ASHPs, and 66.65 million from other fuels
          – Space heat to all sites was 65 sites x 92 million Btu/site = 5,980 million. See URL, page 22
          – Heat from ASHPs was 77 ASHPs x 21.4 million Btu/ASHP = 1,648 million Btu. See URL, page 21
          – Traditional systems provided 5980 – 1648 = 4,332 million Btu, or 4332/5980 = 72.4% of the total space heat.
          – ASHPs provided 100 – 72.4 = 27.6% of the total space heat

          Energy cost savings averaged about $200/y, instead of the $1200/y to $1800/y bandied about by GMP, VT-DPS, VPIRG, etc. After the CADMUS report, those estimates disappeared from booster websites. See URLs.

          http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/air-source-heat-pumps-and-wood-burning-appliances-for-vermont
          http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fact-checking-regarding-heat-pumps-in-vermont-and-maine
          http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-baseless-claims-about-cold-climate-heat-pumps-for

          The CADMUS report data is summarized in table 4, which I cannot reproduce here.

  6. The importance of electing in November Representatives who are willing to sustain Governor Scott’s vetoes cannot be overstated or repeated too often. Now is the time to recruit candidates for the election this fall. A net gain of 5 more votes would ensure both vetoes and the elimination of unreasonable impractical legislation even getting this far.

    • Take a look at the bills taken up and passed by the legislature during this session……Legalize prostitution, allow teenagers to vote, a clean heat bill that the legislature doesn’t understand and can’t explain yet it is passed, again runs away from effectively dealing with massive state employee pension problems, takes landlords basic rights away, a series of diversity, inclusion and equity bills based on the assumption that Vermont is a racist state worse than 1940’s Mississippi and the list goes on and on.

      Sadly a super majority of Vermont legislature is comprised of individuals lacking in common sense and wisdom, averse to objective analysis, driven by far left leaning ideologies and under the spell of activists and special interest lobbyists.

      It is for the reasons above and more that the Governor is forced to issue veto, after veto, after veto to protect the people from an out of touch legislature.

      Changes are needed to fix a legislature that has lost sight of a vast majority of Vermonters’ values.

  7. The only sane Dem in the house. The rest of them are fools and have no interest in helping their constituents. I was quoted $6.19 for fuel oil yesterday. Last year at this time it was $2.69. Yet these fools want to impose a yet to be determined tax imposed by non-elected bureaucrats. This is how the party of pro-death looks out for you. Remember this in November.

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