The Governor’s New Energy Initiative. Who benefits most?

The governor of the state of Connecticut wants to expand natural gas infrastructure.  And he wants YOU to pay for it.

Government Rebates may be available to help this homeowner with the cost of replacing the heating system. Maybe.

I had the opportunity to attend the public hearing that was held in New Haven regarding the governor’s draft Connecticut Energy Plan on Monday, October 19th.  There was a very strong showing by the oil dealers of CT,  sending a message to the governor that his plan is flawed, and while we all agree that steps must be taken to increase energy efficiency in the state of CT, the bill for expansion by the natural gas utility cannot be done at the expense of the taxpayers of CT.

Here is my testimony.

Good Evening, my name is Julie Valvo, and I am the marketing manager at Wilcox Energy in Westbrook, CT.  I started work there in 1993.  My husband and I also own a retail business in Stamford, CT.  We reside in Milford.  I am here tonight because Governor Malloy wants to invest our tax dollars into expanding the natural gas infrastructure, while at the same time, discouraging growth, and improvements in the oil and propane industries, run by more than 200 independent small businesses, & employing over 13,000 people.

Governor Malloy is quoted as saying, “For those who will not be reached by natural gas mains, or who choose for whatever reason not to convert, we remain committed to helping them with strong efficiency programs and the chance to lower their energy bills.”

How, exactly, is the governor committed to helping them, and what are the strong efficiency programs?

What I have witnesses is just the opposite.  I called the help line immediately when I heard that there was 3 million dollars in funding available for storm victims in need of heating system replacements.  I wanted the facts to pass on to our customers.

When I asked the woman on the phone what the rebate was for an oil boiler, as I did not see it listed on the website, she said there is none.  When I asked her why not, her response was, “We are trying to move people away from oil.” Our governor is choosing to exclude these homeowners from any rebate programs.  When we can install an oil or propane (also excluded) boiler with an efficiency rating as high as 95%, how can the government not see this as an investment in efficiency and encourage such improvements by rewarding these homeowner with fair rebates?

Our governor is strong-arming the public by saying, “We can save you money, but only if you do it our way.'”  There are hundreds of thousands of homeowners who heat with oil and propane.  Not to mention the hundreds of homeowners affected by Super Storm Sandy.  These families need to restore their heat, and they cannot wait for a gas line to come down their street.  Yet, there are no storm incentives for these homeowners.  This is just another example of Governor Malloy’s bias against oil and propane.

Another point that is important to mention is the  governor’s belief that gas is and will always be less expensive that oil or propane.  When you consider historical data, the facts speak for themselves, as oil has been less expensive than natural gas 17 out of the last 20 years.

I agree with governor Malloy when he says, “each dollar invested in efficiency produces more than twice that amount in savings over the useful life of that investment.”  I urge our governor to consider a plan that includes all fuel sources in his “strong efficiency programs.”  We have an opportunity before us to make our state cleaner, brighter, and more energy efficient, but we must work together to that end.  Oil, Propane and Natural Gas together.  The governor needs to stand up and take notice that oil and propane are a part of the solution, not a part of the problem, and together, we truly can make our state a better place to live, work, and breathe.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my testimony this evening.