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