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

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Home heating (2)

Renewable Natural Gas & Hydrogen are NOT the Answers to Home Heating

If you haven’t seen it yet, you will. Gas utilities everywhere are putting out propaganda that they can decarbonize the gas that flows through our pipes to heat our homes and businesses. National Grid, one of the major utilities in Massachusetts and New York, has produced a document with its vision of a clean energy future. If you read through the paper carefully, you will see how important it is to the gas utility to mix Renewable Energy Gas (RNG) and hydrogen with natural gas (fracked methane). Whether it’s in the public interest is a different question.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Why are energy prices so high this winter & where are we headed?

In recent weeks, gas and electric utilities have been announcing steep price hikes for the next few months – some starting on November 1 and some starting later. Consumers of heating oil and diesel fuel have also seen extraordinary retail price increases compared to a year ago. It’s a topic that Green Energy Consumers Alliance has been monitoring with an eye toward the short run and the long run. So, when our good friends at Metro West Climate Solutions asked for a presentation on why energy prices are so high this coming winter and where are headed, we were happy to oblige and join them for a webinar on October 25. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Plan Ahead: Cold Temperatures & Tight Supply Bring Higher Heating Costs this Winter

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its annualWinter Fuels Outlookon Oct. 12, predicting that heating costs this winter will increase significantly. Natural gas heating in the Northeast is expected to increase by 23%. For households that heat with oil, you can expect to spend 27% more this winter than last.A combination of two factors is driving this winter’s trend: cooler weather and higher prices due to supply constraints.

Loie Hayes

We Like the Massachusetts Climate Bill. The Governor Must Sign It.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts House and Senate both passed a major new climate bill, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind. The legislation now goes to Governor Baker for signature. The bill is basically what we expected: a combination of the House’s emphasis on offshore wind, the Senate’s emphasis on electric transportation, and some new policies in other areas. Overall, we are very pleased with the 96-page bill. Here are our views on some of the key provisions – and what you can do to get this over the finish line. 

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

Buildings in the Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Plan

This blog covers strategies outlined in Massachusetts’ final Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the buildings sector. For more background on the CECP for 2025 and 2030, read this blog.


Residential and commercial heating and cooling contributed 29.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents to Massachusetts’ emissions in 1990, or about 15% of total GHG emissions. The newest draft of the state's Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) now calls for a 49% emission reduction by 2030 relative to 1990 in the heating sector (virtually the same percentage decrease as the economy-wide target of 50%).

For the last several years, we have seen emissions fall significantly from within the electricity sector, while building emission reductions have been more stubborn. Here’s what the CECP says we’re going to do about that, and our take on those strategies.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Finding great Heat Pump installers and advice

Green Energy Consumers has launched a new Heat Pump program designed to connect consumers with trusted expertise. As prices for heating oil and natural gas continue to respond to the worldwide supply shortage, this is a great summer to investigate whether a heat pump would make sense for your home.

If you've wondered how to assess your home's suitability for heat pumps, find installers, or compare their varying bids, we recommend you register for this new program by clicking below. And, of course, read on!

Get help with heat pumps

Find the best contractor for you

Because the heat pump market in Massachusetts and Rhode Island is still relatively young, it’s sometimes hard to know if an installer has enough experience to do a good job. Likewise, heat pump systems can be designed in various ways, and many consumers lack the training to be able to compare designs. Our program makes it easier for energy consumers to find trusted vendors and independent advice. 

Loie Hayes & Larry Chretien

Heating Oil Consumers Are Facing a Crisis Next Winter

Although Spring is in the air and we have so many current events of great importance, there’s reason to think about how difficult next winter will be for heating oil consumers. For months, we have seen rising energy costs – natural gas, electricity, and gasoline.  But this blog is about the heating oil market as it would affect consumers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the rest of New England.  Consider this to be an open letter to our federal delegations to Congress, Governor Baker, Governor McKee, and state legislators.  Heating oil in New England has been well over $5 per gallon since March, over two dollars higher than last winter. Unless it gets a lot better, the price of heating oil will cause misery for hundreds of thousands of families.

Loie Hayes & Larry Chretien

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

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.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien