New York is in the process of radically changing the way we heat our homes, fuel our cars and create electricity in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On the face of it, that could be a great thing. Although we sell fossil fuels, we recognize the danger of global warming. We also sell heat pumps and emphasize increased efficiency in all our equipment. We have been advocates of increasing the renewable content of heating oil (Bioheat® fuel) and making propane more renewable.
But transforming our energy system needs to be handled realistically, no matter how much we worry about global warming. If the state moves forward too fast with plans that will be a huge burden on people or undermine our electric grid, it will trigger a backlash against all climate change efforts.
The Governor and many members of the legislature seem to be finally realizing the pain these plans could cause for regular people. The heads of the Department of Environmental Conservation and NYSERDA recently wrote in an op-ed, “Fighting climate change won’t work if people and businesses can’t afford it. Burdensome costs will impede essential climate progress.”
We completely agree. Already, there are plans for something called “cap and invest,” which could artificially inflate the cost of natural gas, heating oil and propane by hundreds of dollars a year. That’s on top of forcing people to convert their homes, buildings and businesses to electricity, which will be hugely expensive and burden the grid even more. Before we go any further, we need a true accounting of what all this will cost and risk.
Lawmakers need to hear from regular people like you. Whether you agree with us or not, make your voice heard. Check out smarternyenergy.org for an easy way to send them a message.