‘Propane protection laws’ will go away when propane does

By Rob Roper

An article in VTDigger today trumpets, “Attorney general reminds Vermonters of propane protection laws as snow, cold continue.” In Vermont, propane fuel dealers are required by law to deliver to customers, even if the customer isn’t up to date with paying all their past bills. We don’t let people freeze to death — if you heat with the fossil fuel propane that is.

Public domain

Roper: “As the attorney general reminds Vermonters that they won’t be literally left out in the cold by their propane fuel delivery company, the Legislature is making moves to eradicate those companies and all fossil heating fuels from our landscape.”

This seems like an important safety feature in state with long, cold winters — especially on a day like today where two feet of snow blankets the ground and, in the weeks before, having endured an extended deep freeze with many days of below zero weather.

But here’s the thing: As the attorney general reminds Vermonters that they won’t be literally left out in the cold by their propane fuel delivery company, the Legislature is making moves to eradicate those companies and all fossil heating fuels from our landscape. The Climate Action Plan would have us eliminate the use of fossil fuels for heating homes by 2040. So, what happens then?

The Climate Action Plan calls for the installation of over 200,000 electric cold-climate heat pumps to displace fossil fuel use for heating homes. But when the power goes out in February during a snowstorm accompanied by sub-zero temperatures, there is no “electricity protection law” mandating that the electric company guarantee you have enough power to survive the outage — even if you’re up to date on all your bills! If the Legislature passed such a law, it would be meaningless due to the nature of electricity generation and delivery. If the power goes out, the power goes out. They’ll fix it as fast as they can, but in the meantime …

This should serve as a serious red flag for just how ridiculous and dangerous the Climate Action Plan really is. In 2040, the Digger story will likely read, “Attorney general reminds Vermonters, extreme weather likely to knock out power/heat for extended period of time. Get in your government approved electric vehicles and flee to someplace warm!” Oops … those EVs won’t work either, will they? Guess you’re really screwed.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain
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22 thoughts on “‘Propane protection laws’ will go away when propane does

  1. The laws of economics, demographics and moronic government interventions are already grinding the gears of the home heating industry to a halt. The shortage of truck drivers and this cold winter has strained the industry to the breaking point. Customers who have pre bought gallons from the big companies and are on automatic delivery are running out of fuel. They are told by their fuel providers they need to wait up to two weeks to get a delivery. Smaller companies are picking up the slack for now. 17 years in the business and I have never seen anything like this. Build back better?

  2. So many fallacies; where do I begin. I suppose the “climate change “ freak out is the place to start. We humans are NOT responsible for drastically changing the climate. Solar cycles are far more powerful than anything we can possibly do other than create nuclear winter with a war. The demands to cease using fossil fuels to “save the planet “ is nonsense propaganda; someone is making money on this.

    We do have to face reduced supplies of oil and thus must plan for it but it’s not a climate change issue.

    As far as relying on heat pumps in VT; forget about it. Even the best don’t function at the low temps we get here.

    I’m also getting really tired of paying to subsidize the purchase of heat pumps and EV’s. As well as the private installation of PV panels so that people of means can reduce their electric bills while showing off their wokeness.

    And nothing heats like wood!

  3. I’ve wondered if outlawing oil and gas heating systems meets the test of confiscating property for public good without compensation. Which is unconstitutional.

  4. In Cuba, the electrical grid and water supply is tenuous.

    Water and electricity can be delivered at curtain times of day. Just like food supplies.

    A friend who visits Cuba and has friends down their was telling me how the system is in such disrepair and leaking that is why they have these issues.

    I looked at him and said, ” it’s a pretty convenient way to control the peole isn’t it?”

    There was a long pause.

  5. You will never convince me that a state full of trees sold to China, that is rural, and until VERY recently, backup heat was ALWAYS wood…that propane heat is better than wood heat.
    It.
    Is.
    Not.
    At 30 below… the woodstove cranks our the heat, warms the objects in the room, including the walls and floors and furniture. At 30 below…a propane heater works harder to get up enough BLOW to heat a room that puts 30 below about 4 feet into the room, and will NEVER warm up.
    Wood heat, in all its aspects, warms best.
    Vermont woodstoves were never a cause of pollution.
    But thousands of mills along our rivers were, first milling for ships, then for pulp to China.
    Those are gone now.
    Vermonters have a heating legacy that is being robbed.
    Its free, or nearly so. And wood cutters and loggers are still eking out a living for their neighbors. In fact, its a part of the winter economy for many farmers and sugar bushers – sell the wood they clear.
    Having lived in Alaska, heated cabins with both wood and propane, I can tell you propane ONLY ever warmed the space around the blower. Where the woodstoves heated the whole cabin, and often the door had to be opened to cool the heat.
    If I run out of wood, I can go outside, and pick up all the wood I need to burn to stay warm.
    I can’t run to Saudi Arabia or the tar sands of Alberta to heat my cabin.
    Making Vermonters rely MORE on Electricity and Fossil fuel sounds like a utility and energy company wet dream.
    Oh.
    Wait.

    • Oh, and btw, I am also semi-retired, closing in on 71, and will keep trucking the wood to my cabin instead of spending that time paying a third party to ‘get me in shape’. I will stay in shape and in good health by the lifestyle I choose…which means removing any and ALL middle men and third parties.
      Anyone telling me to use propane instead of wood doesn’t actually know the difference between radiant heat, and blower heat. One is efficient and inexpensive (because our state is covered in trees), the other supports a cabal that is literally eating Vermonters and the planet alive. That is not hyperbole.
      Electricity goes out regularly due to weather.
      But lets all get heat pumps that rely on electricity as we re-enter a mini-ice age – that require maintenance, parts, service calls, and… you can’t fix yourself.
      Yeah…lets go with that. Makes sense.
      Not.

      • Allison –
        I agree with you about the coziness and superiority of wood heat. That goes for pellets too.
        When I was your age, I also planned on sticking with wood and I intend to continue down that road as long as possible. As I got older, I saw that some of my contemporaries found themselves physically unable to handle it. It can happen suddenly. It can happen to anyone. I respect your intention and wish you luck and many years of good health.
        I thought it wise to have an option and am resentful that our government is taking effective and affordable options away.

  6. I am retired and in my seventies. I have a pellet stove, a woodstove and a seldom used oil furnace. As I face the realities of growing old, I realize that cutting, splitting, stacking and transporting firewood will become more difficult. Unloading and hauling pellets will as well. I was glad to see that oil was becoming more affordable and planned to upgrade to a more efficient furnace and enjoy my retirement. That was a long time ago. Last year.
    Things are different now. The price of oil is rising due to policy decisions on the federal level. The State of Vermont’s war on fossil fuels also indicates that oil heat is a dead end. Probably gas too, although, even now, we’re not allowed to have that in most of the state.
    It is likely that Vermont will expand the energy war to include pellets.
    That leaves only electric heat pumps. When the electrical system was fed by a combination of hydro, fossil fuel and nuclear power, it was reliable. With only windmills and solar that will be no longer be the case. But that is the mandate of Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
    Options seem to be: Give up my independence and spend down all my lifetime accumulated assets to go into assisted living. When I’m broke, go on welfare (which is an unacceptable option for this Vermonter} to stay there.
    I expect that I will not be the only aged Vermonter found frozen to death in their own home.
    When I was in grade school, I learned that government was there to maintain our freedoms and make life better. We had Representatives to protect us, not Masters to dictate to and punish us. It’s a different state today.

  7. EXCERPT from:

    HEAT PUMPS REDUCE VERY LITTLE CO2 IN MY VERMONT HOUSE, AS THEY DO IN ALMOST ALL NEW ENGLAND HOUSES
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-are-money-losers-in-my-vermont-house-as-they-are-in

    I installed three heat pumps by Mitsubishi, rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F, Model MXZ-2C24NAHZ2, each with 2 heads, each with remote control; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.

    The HPs have DC variable-speed, motor-driven compressors and fans, which improves the efficiency of low-temperature operation.
    The HPs last about 15 years. Turnkey capital cost was $24,000. GMP, the electric utility, provided a $2,400 subsidy.

    My Well-Sealed, Well-Insulated House

    The HPs are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, 3,600 sq ft, well-sealed/well-insulated house, except the basement, which has a near-steady temperature throughout the year, because it has 2” of blueboard, R-10, on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab, which has saved me many thousands of space heating dollars over the 35 years.

    Operating HPs at Low Temperatures

    On 22 January, 2022, the temperature was -20F at my house. As a test, I operated my kitchen heat pump. After about 15 minutes, there was lukewarm air coming from the wall-mounted unit, but it was much less warm, than it would be at, say 15F. That lukewarm air did not heat my kitchen.

    Conclusion: The name cold-climate HP is merely an advertising gimmick. HPs are economic down to about 15F in Vermont.
    I do not operate my HPs at 15F or below, because they would become increasingly less efficient with decreasing temperatures.
    The HP operating cost per hour would become greater than of my efficient propane furnace. See table 3

    The Vermont state government wants to electrify-everything (heat pumps, electric cars, and transit and school buses, no matter the very high turnkey capital cost. The operating cost savings are minimal, as proven by a VT-DPS survey of operating data of 77 existing HP installations.

    The only beneficiary is Canadian-owned GMP, which would sell oodles more high-priced electricity. Everyone else gets screwed, while “fighting” climate change, a la Don-Quixote tilting at wind mills.

    If you have a wood stove or pellet stove, by all means use it, because it is the lowest-cost way to space heat houses, including standard Vermont energy-hog houses. A wood-burning fireplace has negative efficiency, i.e., is sucks more heat out of a space, than it adds heat to a space. Do not use it at low temperatures. See URLs

    High Electricity Prices

    Vermont forcing, with subsidies and/or GWSA mandates, the build-outs of expensive RE electricity systems, such as wind, solar, batteries, etc., would be counter-productive, because it would:

    1) Increase already-high electric rates and
    2) Worsen the already-poor economics of HPs (and of EVs)!!

  8. Bob,

    Our whole family will get into our electric vehicle, and run the heater for as long as the battery has a charge.

    After that, we will all say a prayer, begging the Good Lord to return a glint of sanity to Montpelier.

    After the prayer, with temperatures at less than 0 F, neighbors will find on us in the morning.

    They will report we froze to death, along with thousands more.

    We sacrificed our lives to save the world.

    We had signed last will papers to bequeath all our possessions to Vermont’s subsidy-sucking RE Businesses, so they can continue the anti-global warming fight, by installing even more Heat Pumps

  9. Here is the medical description of psychosis: “a severe mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality”.
    I am really starting to wonder about the Climate Council.
    Of course the renewable lobbyists clogging the zoom meetings or the chambers of the statehouse have created the absurd “Vermont energy goals reality” and they have been pounding their false truth for years in Montpelier. It is time for the legislators and the governor to step back into Vermont’s true reality: a welfare state sickly depending from the federal government for its survival, brutally cold, poor, and whose miserable CO2 emissions are some of the smallest in the country and recognized as insignificant. Vermont should try to become a leader in self-sufficiency not in delusional climate change goals. I suggest to Ben Walsh, Paul Burns and others to become the climate change missionaries of the twenty first century and move to China and Bangladesh to preach the CO2 emissions reduction mantra and see how that plays out. I will personally design their flowing monk robes.

  10. Just because you can flee to a warm shelter when the power grid is interrupted and it’s 0°F outside, doesn’t mean you’ll come back and move right in. You’ll have to wait in line with thousands of other homeowners waiting for their frozen pipes to be fixed and the water damage repaired. The lawmakers don’t consider this maybe because they have backup generators, or large battery banks supplied by large solar panel assemblies. Maybe their large solar assembly was a gift from the RE Industry lobby.

    • Legislators performing quid pro quo “Constituent Service” in Vermont?

      Leahy getting, FOR FREE, a $25,000 wedding, for his daughter, courtesy of EB-5 program?

      Shumlin and his girl friend staying at a free penthouse in Manhattan, all expenses paid, courtesy of EB-5 program?

      • Don’t forget how suddenly major banks just sent hundreds of millions of dollars and they conveniently are not involved with this fraud, one of the largest EB-5 frauds in the nation.

        Who is in charge of the national EB5 program? Senator Leahy.

        Coincidence? Lol

        Coincidence he’s never in the papers, interviewed, or interrogated by the FBi? Sometimes what is not said is more important than what is said.

  11. Pipe dreams, MJ promoted, are fun, but…….
    The idea that Vermonters are willing to risk frozen up homes, even when they have money to pay,
    just becuse of some silly headed Liberals belief that” insistence itself is an accomplishment!”

    You let us have Global Warming, and then you can cut our heating fuels!!

    Not any available electric source, other than Nuclear, can possibly produce this vast new electric power.!!

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