Report: Vermont among the top 15 most energy expensive states

Michael Bielawski/TNR

Despite being a state where fossil fuels such as heating oil are eschewed by many elected officials and green activists, Vermont placed third highest in heating oil consumption right after two other New England states, Maine and New Hampshire.

Editor’s note: This article is by Lou Varricchio, editor of The Sun. It is republished here with permission.

A new online WalletHub study ranks Vermont among the top 15 most expensive energy states in the U.S.

The personal finance website’s report, titled “2021’s Most and Least Energy-Expensive States,” places Vermont as the 14th most expensive energy state among the 50 states and District of Columbia. And while the state’s heating oil costs are high, monthly natural gas costs ($17) are low enough now to make it a growing, competitive home heating option.

Vermont was among the hungriest of the home heating oil-per-consumer states.

Despite being a state where fossil fuels such as heating oil are eschewed by many elected officials and green activists, Vermont placed third highest in heating oil consumption right after two other New England states, Maine and New Hampshire.

The report’s reported monthly heating oil cost for Vermont consumers is $74 per month.

The Green Mountain State’s monthly electricity cost of $118 (ranked 33), while somewhat high, is lower than most other New England states; Connecticut was placed among the top-five-highest-monthly electric states in the nation.

Overall, Connecticut was number one by being the most “energy-expensive” state in the nation. Nebraska was the least “energy-expensive” state in the nation.

Among the New England states, Massachusetts has the lowest electricity consumption per consumer followed by Rhode Island.

Dr. Mark Alan Hughes, a professor at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of Wallet Hub’s outside experts involved in preparing the report explained why the overall averages place Vermont in the top 15 most expensive states when it comes to energy.

“In addition to obvious differences among states in their endowments of energy sources like fossil fuel deposits and sunshine, there are important differences among states in energy and energy-adjacent public policies,” Hughes said.

“Examples include the extent of cooperation offered by utilities in connected household energy resources to the grid, the extent to which local governments promote the permitting and other aspects of household energy conservation and generation, the extent that states fund incentive programs that facilitate adoption in new technologies like electric vehicles and help drive down costs for later adopters, and the extent to which regulators and utilities maintain adequate infrastructure to avoid costly and dangerous disruptions in energy services to households, businesses, and institutions. These and many other direct and indirect energy policies contribute to a ‘net’ energy cost that variable among states and matters as much as the nominal prices of electricity and gasoline.”

View the “2021’s Most and Least Energy-Expensive States” report online.

CORRECTION: Vermont’s monthly average electricity cost is $118 according to the study, not $33, as incorrectly stated in the original version of the story.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Michael Bielawski/TNR

9 thoughts on “Report: Vermont among the top 15 most energy expensive states

  1. I read the Wallet Hub article. For electricity Vermont is RANKED #33 for monthly cost. The average monthly cost is $118.

    • Warren,

      Does the $118/month, include taxes, fees and surcharges?

      If you have heat pumps, that cost is a lot higher, like about 50 to 100 percent higher, based on my own experience.

      Anytime the temps go below 15F, I turn off my heat pumps, and turn on my highly efficient Viessmann propane furnace, which is extremely clean, has no particulates, and has low CO2/kWh.

      Here are some comments on CO2 of electricity, gram/kWh

      1) ISO-NE-calculated CO2 emissions for 2019 = (30.997 million US ton, from emissions report x 2000lb/US ton x 454 g/lb)/ (97,853000 MWh, NE generation per epa URL) x 1000 kWh/MWh) = 288 g/kWh, fed-to-grid basis, or 288/0.908 = 317 g/kWh, fed-to-user-meter basis, if total loss = 2.5%, NE grid + 6.7%, distribution grids = 9.2%.

      2) The VT-DPS values are almost entirely based on “paper” power purchase agreements, PPAs, VT utilities are required to have with in-state and out-of-state power generators. If utilities did not have such PPAs, they would be stealing!

      VT utilities physically draw about 95% of their 6.0 billion electricity supply from the VT/NE high voltage grid; the remaining 5% is fed to utility-owned distribution grids, such as rooftop solar.

      About 5.6 billion kWh arrives at user meters, a distribution loss of about 100 x (1- 5.6/6.0) = 6.7%

      VT-DPS-calculated CO2 emissions for 2019 = 130,000 Mt/y / 5.6 billion kWh/y = 23 g CO2/kWh, fed-to-user-meter basis. See URL

      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/some-ne-state-governments-play-deceptive-games-with-co2-emissions

  2. …and all those forests being ‘managed’ to ship overseas….
    Hey… I got a GREAT idea…lets subsidize coal powered electricity plants owned by Chanada, in place of selectively logging and maintaining our forests for heating Vermont homes…because those people in suits in DC have big cheques in their pockets from Big Energy to sell us a better gizmo…
    Vermonters have been subject to this sort of snake oils sales since its inception…and now the added shaming, blaming and pay just a little bit more for another gizmo/bad idea…that…puts another middle man between us and our heat/food/soil…
    But yeah…lets go with bigger is better instead of smaller works, and what ain’t broke don’t need to be fixed.
    But oh boy…we lost THAT plot a LONNNG time ago.
    We’ve kneecapped ourselves, and paid for the privilege.
    Divide and conquer comes in ALL kinds of labels, shapes and sizes.
    Common sense is now ‘bad’ and paying the middle man the ‘way to go.’
    Way to go…dig that hole deeper.
    Pretty soon, we won’t be able to cut a tree to warm a cabin or a yurt..and cabins and yurts will be outlawed. Or 50 thousand dollars for the privilege of living small, neat and tidy.
    Or, illegal.
    Oh.
    Wait.

    • Allison,

      You have great observations.

      The REAL issue is VETO-PROOF, COMMAND AND CONTROL by Dem/Progs.

      Dem/Progs will turn heaven and earth upside down, including having THIRD-WORLD-STYLE tainted elections, to gain and maintain it, using COVID and/or GLOBAL WARMING, or whatever, as Trojan Horses to achieve Socialistic, cancel-US-culture objectives. The latter is straight from Marxist manifestos.

      All else is just bull manure.

      By hook and by crook, Vermont, which was a CONSERVATIVE State for 200 years, has been turned into a most SOCIALISTIC State, by means of CENTRALIZED COMMAND AND CONTROL; a government program for every conceivable, hyped “ill”.

      Because Dem/Progs have almost veto-proof control in Washington, DC, and to cement their dominance, they have:

      A) Opened the borders to flood the US with undesirables from about 160 countries (Illiterates, unskilled, unhealthy, uneducated, not-English-speaking, criminal, etc., i.e., millions more of future Democrats

      B) Tried to implement TRILLION DOLLAR government programs that would:

      1) Strangle the US private sector,
      2) Increase energy prices,
      3) Increase inflation,
      4) Increase our trade deficits because of decreased competitiveness,
      5) Increased our national debt to over $30 trillion, putting the US on par with dysfunctional Italy and Greece, which are examples of basket cases in the EU.
      6) Increase taxes to confiscatory levels

  3. Heat Pumps are Money Losers in my Vermont House (as they are in almost all people’s houses)

    My annual electricity consumption increased about 50% (the various taxes, fees, and surcharges also increased), after I installed three Mitsubishi, 24,000 Btu/h heat pumps, each with 2 heads; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.
    The heat pumps last about 15 years.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-of-ashps-is-based-on-misrepresentations

    They are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, well-sealed/well-insulated house. It has 2” of blueboard (R-10 vs R-0.67 for 8” concrete) on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab which has saved me many thousands of heating dollars over the 35 years.

    Before heat pumps, my heating propane was 1000 gal/y, after heat pumps, it was 830 gal/y, a reduction of 170 gal/y, or $310/y, at $2.399/gal. Additional electricity costs were $609/y. I am losing money
    Domestic hot water, DHW, heating, requires about 200 gallon/y

    My existing Viessmann propane system, 95%-efficient in condensing mode, is used on cold days, 15F or less, because heat pumps have low efficiencies, i.e., low Btu/kWh, at exactly the same time my house would need the most heat; a perverse situation, due to the laws of Physics 101!!

    The heat pumps would be slightly more efficient than electric resistance heaters at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature. It would be extremely irrational to operate air source heat pumps, at such temperatures.

    I have had no energy cost savings, because of high household electric rates, augmented with taxes, fees and surcharges. Vermont forcing, with subsidies, the addition of expensive RE electricity to the mix, would make matters worse!!

    Amortizing the $24,000 turnkey capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y; I am losing more money.

    There likely will be service calls and parts for the heat pumps, as the years go by, in addition to annual service calls and parts for the existing propane system; I am losing even more money.
    https://www.myamortizationchart.com

    NOTE:
    If I had a highly sealed, highly insulated house, with the same efficient propane heating system, my house would use very little energy for heating; about 1 to 1.5 percent of Vermont households have such housing.

    If I would install heat pumps* and would operate the propane system on only the coldest days, I likely would have energy cost savings.

    However, those annual energy cost savings would be overwhelmed by the annual amortizing cost, i.e., I would still be losing money, if amortizing were considered.

    * I likely would need 3 units at 18,000 Btu/h, at a lesser turnkey capital cost. Their output, very-inefficiently produced, would be about 27,000 Btu/h at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature.

    NOTE: VT-Department of Public Service found, after a survey of 77 heat pumps installed in Vermont houses (turnkey cost for a one-head HP system is about $4,500), the annual energy cost savings were, on average, $200, but the annual amortizing costs turned that gain into a loss of $200, i.e., on average, these houses were unsuitable for heat pumps, and the owners were losing money.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-savings-of-air-source-heat-pumps-are-negative-in-vermont

  4. Gee, I am not surprised.

    Adding expensive wind, solar, etc., to the Vermont electricity mix, is similar to cutting off your nose to enhance the beauty of your face.

    The higher the price of electricity, the less economical EVs would be versus gasoline vehicles
    The higher the price of electricity, themes economical HEAT PUMPS would be versus existing heating systems

    This will slow down Vermont’s EV and heat pump sales.

    Read this URL to get some REAL-WORLD energy education
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

    • This article has a graph showing the more RE per person, the higher the HOUSEHOLD electric costs.
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fortress-vermont-a-multi-billion-boondoggle-foisted-onto

      Vermont Has Much Better Options Than Expensive Wind/Solar/Battery Systems

      Buildings:

      A state-wide building code, which would require new buildings to be highly sealed, highly insulated so they could easily be energy-surplus buildings, or be entirely off-the -grid. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc., have had such codes for at least a decade.

      Vermont should be replacing run-of-the-mill, old houses, with up-to-date, energy-surplus, off-the-grid, new houses, at a rate of at least 5,000 houses per year. There would be 150,000 such houses by 2050.

      Dabbling at weatherizing, at $10,000 per house, is politically attractive, but a gross waste of money. The goal should be energy conservation and high efficiency. Their combined effect would reduce CO2 at the least cost.

      Energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption, CO2, and energy costs, such as by:

      1) Exchanging traditional light bulbs for LEDs
      2) Insulating and sealing energy-hog housing and other buildings
      3) Increasing the mileage of existing gasoline vehicles

      Such measures would cost $50 to $200 per metric ton, much less than the $2,100/Mt of electric school buses.
      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/electric-bus-systems-likely-not-cost-effective-in-vermont-at

      Vehicles:

      Gas Guzzler Fee

      Instead of RE folks fantasizing about banning gasoline vehicles, it would be far less expensive for Vermont to immediately enforce a gas-guzzler code to impose a fee on low-mileage vehicles. The fee would be collected at time of registration.

      The more below 40-mpg, the greater would be the fee.
      Vehicles with greater than 40-mpg, such as the 54-mpg Toyota Prius, would be exempt.

      EVs

      RE folks would have everyone drive UNAFFORDABLE, MATCHBOX-SIZE, IMPRACTICLE EVs, that would not reduce much CO2 compared with EFFICIENT gasoline vehicles.

      On a lifetime, A-to-Z basis, with travel at 105,600 miles over 10 years (10,560 miles/y), the CO2 emissions, based on the present New England grid CO2/kWh, would be:

      NISSAN Leaf S Plus, EV, compact SUV, no AWD, would emit 25.967 Mt, 246 g/mile
      TOYOTA Prius L Eco, 62 mpg, compact car, no AWD, would emit 26.490 Mt, 251 g/mile
      SUBARU Outback, 30 mpg, medium SUV, with AWD, would emit 43.015 Mt, 407 g/mile
      VT LDV mix, 22.7 mpg, many with AWD or 4WD, would emit 56.315 Mt, 533 g/mile

      The above shows,

      A NISSAN Leaf, a compact SUV, would have CO2 reduction of 30.3 Mt over 10 years (3 Mt/y), if compared with the VT LDV mix, which contains small and big vehicles.

      A NISSAN Leaf would have CO2 reduction of 16.3 Mt over 10 years (1.63 Mt/y), if compared with my 30-mpg Subaru Outback, a vastly more useful vehicle

      EAN Overestimates CO2 reduction/EV

      EAN estimated a CO2 reduction per EV of 4.5 Mt/y, or 4.5 Mt x 1,000,000 g/Mt/12,000 miles = 375 g/mile, based on:

      1) Travel of 12,000 miles/y. However, actual EV travel is only 7,000 miles/y.
      The actual EAN CO2 reduction would be 7000/12000 x 4.5 = 2.62 Mt/y

      2) EAN using 23 g CO2/kWh, as calculated by the VT-DPS, instead of using 317 g/kWh of the NE grid, as calculated on a rational basis by ISO-NE. See URLs

      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/some-ne-state-governments-play-deceptive-games-with-co2-emissions

      3) EAN ignoring the A-to-Z CO2 of making the battery, etc., and lifetime conditions, which led to further CO2 understatement. See URLs

      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/poor-economics-of-electric-vehicles-in-new-england
      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

      Any analyses by EAN, or VT-DOT, or “Concerned Scientists” (anyone can join), etc., using 12,000, or even 15,000 miles per year, and ignoring A-to-Z CO2 and lifetime conditions, would be in error, because CO2 reduction/EV would be GROSSLY OVERESTIMATED.

      NOTE: EVs are driven an average of 7,000 miles/y, compared to 12,000 miles/y for the US LDV mix.
      The difference holds for: 1) all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, 2) single- and multiple-vehicle households, and 3) inside and outside California.
      This means, as a fleet, EVs would reduce less CO2 than envisioned by RE folks’ dream scenarios. See URLs.

      http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/ldavis/Davis%20AEL%202019.pdf
      https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a35498794/ev-owners-low-mileage-study/

  5. No one gets electricity in Vt for $33 a month. That is a bogus number. I’d love to see how they got it.

  6. Apparently the data for Vermont used pricing from the last century. $33.00 for electricity barely covers the fees on a bill….Efficiency Vermont’s cut, the Emerald Ash Borer surcharge…Past Storm Charge, Electric Assistance Program Fee…and Vermont Sales Tax!
    It will be interesting to see where Vermont ranks a year from now, after the GWSA Council rights all the wrongs we have committed against the environment and “Disadvantaged Groups”.

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