The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

Put on a Sweater and Unplug the Second Fridge – Energy this Winter is Going to Be Expensive

Posted by Larry Chretien on Monday, October 18, 2021 @ 05:58 PM

Oil and natural gas prices are on the rise globally in a big way and that means electricity and heating fuel rates will go up too.  When you add it all up, this is going to be an expensive winter. 

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Tags: Electricity and the grid, Home heating

Should Massachusetts phase out rebates for new oil- and gas-fired systems for heat and hot water?

Posted by Larry Chretien on Tuesday, July 06, 2021 @ 02:31 PM

Recently I was asked by the Boston Globe to write 350 words on why the Mass Save energy efficiency program should phase out rebates for new oil-fired systems for heat and hot water. Another writer took the opposite view and readers were invited to vote for their preferred argument. The Globe’s request was reasonable and so I wrote my piece, but in this expanded blog, I can better address some important points in the discussion.

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Home heating, Climate change

The Texas power problem – our perspective

Posted by Larry Chretien on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 @ 11:35 AM

Our hearts go out to Texans. The cold, snow, ice, power outages, and water shutoffs have gone way past inconvenient for people there. It’s caused death and misery.  Although we’re not experts on the Texas grid system as much as we are in New England, we’ve noticed a lot of confusion and deliberate misinformation surrounding the blackouts

The confusion about the power system is understandable; it's complicated and largely operates behind-the-scenes. It’s only until there’s a major crisis that we take a look behind the curtain. Unfortunately, the grid’s complexity makes it a ripe opportunity for the financially and politically motivated to spread “alternative facts.”  

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Tags: Renewable energy, Energy policy & advocacy, Home heating

What should we do about gas heat? A problem from Newport to Northampton

Posted by Kai Salem on Friday, November 06, 2020 @ 04:25 PM

Over the past week, many of us here in New England might have turned on our heat as temperatures dipped to near freezing for the first time this fall. For the slight majority of us in Rhode Island and Massachusetts who heat our homes with natural gas, we’re relying on a centrally distributed fossil fuel to keep our homes and businesses warm in winter. On the one hand, natural gas is cheap, and a growing economy calls for more customers to hook up to the pipeline. On the other, we are way over our budget for greenhouse gases. Natural gas releases carbon when burned and causes an even bigger problem when leaked in the form of methane. We have a conundrum on our hands: how do we urgently reduce emissions from our buildings when most of us rely on the natural gas system to supply needed warmth during the winter?

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Home heating

We Need a Plan for Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps

Posted by Larry Chretien and Eugenia Gibbons on Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 07:12 PM

Our organization works to provide consumers with good options for their homes and we are also at the table with policymakers to encourage policies that make good economic and environmental sense. With this blog, we want to share our experience with heat pumps, particularly ductless mini-splits, and perhaps float a couple of trial balloons.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Home heating

Three Steps to a Better Heating System

Posted by Loie Hayes on Saturday, April 01, 2017 @ 08:03 AM

Now that spring is here, we have plenty of time to prepare for next heating season. Heating system upgrades are a great way to help you save energy and money. Though upgrading may seem like an intimidating project, you can break it down into manageable steps.

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Home heating

Getting the Sulfur Out of Heating Oil – A Win-Win for Consumers and the Environment

Posted by Phil Lindsey & Loie Hayes on Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 06:40 PM

For decades, the federal Clean Air Act has caused sulfur levels in electricity-generating gasoline and oil to fall dramatically. The results have been enormous. According to one study, the benefits of EPA regulations on sulfur (and nitrogen) have exceeded costs by 30 to 1. Most of these benefits have to do with public health.

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Tags: Home heating, Climate change

Mid-Winter Heating Oil Price Update

Posted by Phil Lindsay on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 @ 05:44 PM

After last winter’s relative warmth and Mass Energy/PP&L prices mostly under $2 per gallon, this year we’re experiencing colder weather and somewhat higher prices. Both the colder weather and today’s prices are still lower than ‘normal’ by historical standards. Here’s our take on what we see happening in the oil markets.

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Tags: Home heating, Our programs

Why You Can Start Heating with Biodiesel Today

Posted by Sophia Wright on Saturday, December 17, 2016 @ 07:12 AM

We’ve come a long way in understanding the best practices for using biodiesel in our home heating system. Unlike biodiesel used in cars, home biodiesel does not require any do-it-yourself retrofitting for safe use. By reading this blog we hope you can get a better understanding of the benefits of biodiesel and the steps you can take to begin using bio-heat in your home heating oil system!

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Tags: Home heating, Our programs

3 Ways to Prepare for this Heating Oil Season

Posted by Sophia Wright on Friday, August 12, 2016 @ 12:25 PM

As non-profit consumer advocacy organizations that have been running a Discount Heating Oil Service for 34 years, Mass Energy and People’s Power & Light want our members to save money. Savings that could be put towards making your home more energy efficient and reducing its carbon footprint. Here are some steps you can take to maintain your heating system’s efficiency, reduce your home’s energy consumption, and spread out your oil bills into predictable monthly payments.

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Home heating