Every winter brings extreme weather to Connecticut, along with widespread power failures that leave many people without heat, sometimes for prolonged periods of time.

Now, New England’s Independent System Operator (ISO New England) has warned of a high risk of rolling blackouts in our region this winter. Plus, supply rates for both Eversource and United Illuminating are set to double starting in January—that’s right, double.

Those are just a couple of the reasons why it’s so alarming that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is advocating for the conversion all homes and businesses to electricity from natural gas, heating oil and propane.

Converting an entire home to electricity is hugely expensive — it can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. It puts even more strain on the fragile electric grid. And it puts all our carbon reduction eggs in one expensive, untested basket.

We’re seeing this play out in California, where residents were warned to reduce electric use a few months ago for fear of blackouts.

Propane already creates significantly less emissions than electricity, including for motor vehicles. Propane autogas, which we use for most of our fleet, is a proven technology and a far better option for the medium duty vehicle sector when moving people and goods. There has also been great progress in developing renewable propane. And biofuel (heating oil blended with renewable biodiesel) is even further along.

Of course, this important work may not continue if lawmakers in Connecticut and elsewhere stifle innovation and force full electrification. Propane is a vital part of a balanced energy plan that we need in order to address the threat of climate change without financially hammering our citizens or sabotaging our energy reliability.

David Gable, President

Propane has long been considered one of our cleaner fuels. Renewable propane gas promises to take that a big step forward. While it is not in common use yet, renewable propane gas has positioned itself to be a major part of the clean fuel conversation in the years ahead.

Renewable propane is considered carbon neutral, and we could soon reach a place where renewable propane produces net-negative carbon emissions, which is already happening in Europe.

Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.

This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint.

It can also reduce our reliance on aging, poorly maintained, fragile electric utility infrastructures. That’s because renewable propane produces the same robust propane heat that effectively warms your home and water now and cannot be matched by electric systems.

Read more about renewable propane.

The surge in all energy prices has been painful for everyone. A few months ago, natural gas hit its highest price in years, influenced by the war in Ukraine. Electric supply rates in Connecticut are set to double in January.

Diesel fuel (which is identical to heating oil) is experiencing its tightest supply in decades, largely because we have lost so much refinery capacity in the United States. As a result, both diesel and heating oil have risen far more than gasoline.

Propane has been a bright spot

Propane’s price has increased far less than virtually all other fuels, and right now, supplies are in good shape. But that doesn’t mean we are out of the woods yet.

Hocon Gas has been keeping customers safe and warm for 70 years. There are many things we can’t control. But you can rest assured that we’ve been through tough situations before, and we will always prioritize our existing customers before anyone else.

Andrew Simon is the general manager of Hocon’s Guilford office. He’s been a part of the team for nine years, helping Connecticut homeowners save money with high-efficiency home equipment.

Q. How does a tankless water heater work?

A: Essentially, a tankless water heater superheats water on demand. Instead of maintaining a large tank of water at a certain temperature, it only turns on when a hot water tap is opened in your home.

Q. How do they save you money?

A: It comes down to operating costs. You aren’t utilizing as much fuel to get the hot water you need. You’re not using propane to heat a tank of water while you aren’t using it. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless water heaters are 24% to 34% more efficient than tank models.

Q. What other benefits do tankless water heaters offer?

A: Tankless water heaters are great for families with continual usage requirements and who need to run multiple appliances simultaneously or right after another.

Q. Is there a particular tankless water heater you recommend?

A: I recommend the Rinnai RUR Models. These systems are incredibly easy to install with cost-effective and efficient venting. You can program recirculation patterns to anticipate when you generally need hot water. They’re great space savers since they require no floor space. Plus, they last roughly twice as long as storage tank water heaters and carry a warranty of double the standard length.

With rebates, the price difference for installing a tankless water heater is lower than ever. But to get the best value, you must plan ahead and begin the process before your current water heater breaks down. Contact us today for a free estimate.

Read more about tankless water heaters.

Michelle Laurendeau, regional manager of branch office administration

As regional manager of branch office administration, Michelle Laurendeau wears many hats. She coordinates with all of Hocon’s offices to make sure they have what they need and are working in tandem. Michelle is also the go-to person for our company’s software needs.

Michelle joined the Hocon family 26 years ago as a customer service representative at the Waterbury office. She became the office manager and eventually rose to her current position.

“Essentially,” she says, “my role is to ensure a uniform standard of quality for our customers.”

What has kept Michelle at our company for so long? She says it’s the family environment and the fact that management wants to take care of both Hocon employees and customers.

Outside of work

For over a decade, Michelle has worked with rescue dogs, getting them out of kill shelters and finding them homes. She is a founding board member and treasurer for Fetching Hearts Rescue. This organization helps abused, neglected and abandoned dogs and promotes responsible pet ownership. Today, she has two rescue dogs herself.

“When you foster a dog, you save two lives,” she says. “You rescue one dog and make room for another.”

If you’re interested in fostering a dog, volunteering or donating to Michelle’s organization, please go here.

We hope you had as much fun as we did in celebrating our 70th anniversary this year. We’ve already given out thousands of gallons of oil and propane to customers through our various contests, along with a Weber grill. Thank you for your loyalty! We always appreciate you as Hocon Gas customers.

Here are comments from some of our long-term customer contest winners, who participated in our summer contest. Each received 150 gallons of heating fuel at 70-cents per gallon.

“Part of our family history”

“We’ve been customers of Hocon since 2007 but my grandparents were customers in the mid-1950’s. I remember as a little girl seeing Hocon deliver gas to their home. They were very loyal Hocon Gas customers for many, many years. That’s the reason why we became Hocon customers when we had you install gas fireplace logs in our home. Since then, we have converted our home to all gas and continue to be a loyal Hocon customer. Thank you Hocon for continuing to be a part of our family history.”
—Bonnie J., Old Saybrook CT

“No complaints for 37 years”

“We started using Hocon in 1985. I have had absolutely no complaints in at least 37 years.”
—Pamela R. Branford, CT

“We wouldn’t consider going anywhere else!”

“From the nice people who answer the phone, to the delivery drivers, to the technicians, Hocon is a wonderful company to do business with…We had a new Rinnai propane heater installed recently, and the technician was knowledgeable and friendly, and installed it very quickly. Whenever we call for a refill, it is delivered very quickly! Thank you Hocon! We really appreciate your service. We wouldn’t consider going anywhere else!”
—James Q. Torrington CT

“A long, long time”

“Hocon has kept me supplied with propane reliably for a clothes dryer, fireplace logs, and water heater for a long, long time. I’m really happy with their operation.”
—Mark W., Norwalk

“Since 1986”

“We have been with only one propane company since 1986: Hocon Gas. They have always been reliable, courteous and competitively priced.”
—Harvey and Caryl S. Norwalk CT

“Best service, no complaints”

“We’re customers since 1985 when we had propane installed in our home in Danbury. We moved to Brookfield and had propane installed again. Best service. No complaints. Hope to be customers for another 37 years.”
—Tracy B. Brookfield

We are so honored to provide service to these wonderful customers and many more. As a community-minded family business, we are always looking for ways to give back. Please check our Facebook page for more fun contents coming up in the future.

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