Despathy: Affordable Heating Act a cruel attack

by Alison Despathy

The new Clean Heat Standard called the Affordable Heating Act is an attack on Vermont businesses and our local economy. This Bill (S.5) was introduced on January 6, 2023 and is supported by thirteen Senators. Although there may be good intentions and hopes behind S.5, it is actually harmful to Vermonters and small businesses who have been heating homes for decades, even generations. The true nature of S.5 hides behind the words equitable and affordable but it will result in a trickle down effect of damage to small fuel companies, consumers, businesses and Vermont’s economy- this will negatively impact all of us.

The language within S.5 reveals that fuel dealers will take the brunt and be coerced to play a highly regulated, convoluted game regarding carbon credits based on limited and specified eligible measures in order to comply and meet goals. This game is designed by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), an unelected body and although it is cloaked in equity; repercussions and negative impacts are guaranteed yet unknown and the inequitable burden and strain placed on Vermont fuel dealers is unfair and dangerous. All Vermont homes and businesses require heat- intensely regulating, monitoring and demanding that these targeted businesses solve the problem -because the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) demands it- is cruel.

Fuel dealers are actively working towards broadening environmental options as industry innovates and access and affordability of technologies becomes realistic. Many want options that save money and may have less of an impact but to force this on the industry and people is unacceptable, especially with a compromised electrical grid and a design which specifically targets hard working individuals and Vermont businesses. Applying this degree of pressure from competitive industries via the government does not serve Vermont and is inappropriate. Vermonters will suffer from these demands and this carbon trading game, there is no doubt.

Many questions arise. Will these businesses be able to financially survive this attack and burden? Will this lead to closures and the invasion of global fuel dealers who can weather this storm? Will this create a monopoly? If people do not want this system or these technologies forced on them, if they cannot afford them, if there is not the funding, then again the fuel dealer suffers and has to pay for not accumulating enough credits in relation to the fuel that they sold.

It is completely unfair that these businesses have to pay more or be penalized because they could not engage and influence enough people to jump on board with this game and purchase the “eligible measures” that the PUC has deemed acceptable for receiving credits.

Will the fuel dealers need to hire help in order to keep track of this forced system and all of the data and records required for reporting? How will they determine if the people they serve are of low or moderate income? Will they be expected to advertise and market these specific “eligible measures”? This is invasive, breaches privacy and these responsibilities, issues and extra costs should not be placed on the fuel dealers or obligated parties. This is an overstep.

In addition to multiple advisory groups, the PUC and the Department of Public Service are appropriated a combined total of $1,200,000 to implement this plan and hire staff and consultants. This money could be spent more effectively and be used to directly accelerate progress. California went through this nightmare and failed; they now need others to enter the game in order for it to lock in and make the carbon market boom. Implementation of a real action based plan that does NOT involve creating, trading, cycling and buying carbon credits among the players- consumers, industry and the commission- would be the real answer. Penalizing these entities who do not fall in lock step to bring in this new system or cannot generate enough credits to stay afloat is an attack.

Under Consumer Protections within S.5, it reads “Entities that provide clean heat measures shall not unfairly induce customers to install or adopt clean heat measures. Entities shall not engage in predatory practices to generate clean heat measures.” However, S.5 by definition is predatory and coercive upon these businesses to play this game in which an unelected body has designed and set the rules. This degree of ongoing and demanding regulation is unprecedented and risks interference with a consumer’s ability to work with a local business who will best serve them and their needs

Will this service become skewed because of the intense pressure and looming penalties placed on the entities to implement these eligible measures. The actual level of intrusion into businesses is appalling. This scheme is unnecessarily complicated and if it requires this many people to drive the game, then it is evidently a poor design which wastes resources, time and money

If the GWSA was repealed, then Vermont could actually focus its efforts on solving real environmental issues and developing a real plan of action that aligns specifically with Vermont needs.

If carbon mitigation must be tackled as some in the legislature demand, then continued and intensified carbon sequestration efforts can be prioritized. Vermont has 75% forest, healthy ecosystems and many sustainable practices in place which equate to an already present, massive and functional carbon sequestration infrastructure.

Further, the thermal and transportation sectors could continue to analyze and determine innovative technologies and options that are effective and make sense for Vermont. These could be promoted, incentivized if found worthy and Vermont could continue to move into a diversified, energy system design without coercion and create a transitional hybrid model while keeping an eye on real industry solutions versus temporary and transient trends in the energy sector.

Another issue related to S.5 -Who will be the statewide default delivery agent in which the obligated party has to pay for clean heat (carbon) credits? S.5 states that the “The Commission may order an obligated party that fails to retire the number of clean heat credits required in a given year, including the required amounts from customers with low income and moderate income, to make a non-compliance payment to the default delivery agent. The per-credit amount of the noncompliance payment shall be three-times the amount established by the Commission.” This potential for penalties holds unknown impacts and could be devastating.

Where will the PUC or the default delivery agent acquire additional clean heat credits/carbon credits if necessary, if Vermont cannot generate enough of its own?. Will it be a requirement to purchase them from British petroleum or another global corporation or bank who has stockpiled carbon credits for decades to get in on the forecasted game and evolving market? Would money go to global corporations while local fuel dealers carry this immense burden and are penalized? Will Vermont pay global corporations such as Big Oil twice in order to use fuel? How will this situation ripple to other Vermont businesses and consumers?

This is beyond a racket- attacking and harming local businesses, even if one feels it is justified for the environment is cruel. Vermont’s economy is already struggling, S.5 does not help the situation. The emphasis on carbon reduction emissions does not make sense in Vermont and will undoubtedly result in business closures, businesses fleeing Vermont and an actual inequitable situation in which one sector is attacked and fiercely pressured in order to meet the goals of the GWSA when all they have been doing is trying to make an honest living and providing Vermonters with a steady supply of fuel to heat their homes- an actual necessity in Vermont. S.5 is dangerous to Vermont on many levels.

Categories: Commentary

11 replies »

  1. I’m selling my house on Friday, have a temporary apartment, and with this kind of stuff looming I think it would be foolish for me to purchase again in Vermont.

    I’m honestly looking at it like I don’t know why I have stayed here. The housing is expensive, the taxes (I’m including licensing and permits here) are high all the way across the board, the majority of jobs you can get don’t pay well according to national standards, and we have leftist woke policies that cater to unnatural transgenders, gay ideologies, and communist thinking. Are top two industries are government and healthcare in that order, the two entities that just told us that we aren’t allowed to do business or leave our homes.

    I’m just not sure the ruralness and beauty of Vermont is really worth it anymore. I really used to love Vermont and the conversations I had with my neighbors and now I feel like I have to hide my views because I’ll be labeled. I love the job that I have now but I think it’s time to hope for greener pastures.

    • Same. Thought I would live my whole life here. Love my home, love the nature. Hate the increasingly woke populace, and idiotic elected officials making everyday life an expensive bureaucratic endeavor. The question is where to flee to. NH? Non-woke Midwest? Certainly not Florida, but maybe N. Texas?

  2. The extreme climate change is caused by mankind’s negligence, but I don’t believe it is in the manner explained by scientific studies. I won’t go into boring details. In a nut shell, the west coasts extreme weather patterns are exacerbated and amplified by the enormous number of solar panels overheating the air, and thousands of windmills disrupting natural wind patterns. Halfway across the US, solar and wind installations occupy tens of thousands of acres. No one is doing official studies because the renewable energy industry won’t finance something that will cause them harm. And the RE industry has politicians in its back pocket, so no federal funding will be allocated to investigate the negative impacts of solar and windmill installations.

    • Sandy, it is absurd to think or write about West Coasts storms that come across the warm Pacific are caused by eastern land based wind and solar. Wind travels across the USA from west to east. Please try to think, write and speak logically about renewable energy.

  3. Outta here folks. “Green” Nazi policies don’t work for our family. Bye……

  4. Look, the climate has been “changing” for the entire lifespan of the planet. But to say the earth is warming because of mankind is simply ludicrous. I’ll tell you when I’ll get concerned – when fake Presidents Obama and Biden start selling off all their oceanfront property. Until then? It’s all a scam. Too bad our legislators are too dumb or afraid to say it out loud.

    And by the way, if climate change were really caused by mankind, why exactly did the glaciers melt?

  5. S5 is simply “Ecofascism” in its purest expression. The progressives legislators in power in Vermont have lost the concept of the struggling middle class and represent an ideology geared toward an utopian planetary purpose. They appear totally removed from Vermont’s reality and they seem ready to sacrifice whatever well-being and prosperity the Vermont middle class has acquired. Their obsession with the planet of course is a shield behind which they hide to actively do the legislative work necessary to allow their pet renewable industry to thrive even when that industry is detrimental to the consumers it affects. The frightening reality is that the super majority Democrat House and Senate have complete control of Vermont’s destiny, and we are in effect in the grip of a totalitarian regime.

    • The comment by Monique Thurston was magnificent and should be repeated in the Vermont legislature along with the commentary by Alison Despathy for whatever good it will do. The elected representatives are supposed to work for the people of the state and they need to hear this message from as many of us as possible!

  6. One could see Vermont changing since the 80’s for worse not better. Now, Vermont is a cesspool of Communists, Marxists, chanting the mantra of equity, environmentalism, racism; hatred for God, America, the Constitution, and History. Void of common sense, reason and lawless. God has been rejected and it is plain to see. God’s Word is Truth, He will not be mocked. Time to leave Vermont. Just like Sodom and Gomorrah, leave and don’t look back. Native Vermonters have had enough (as well as newcomers who thought they were moving to a better state). The people who can see the “writing on the wall” are unable to Vote-Out the Communists/Marxists, as Voting is Rigged, and they are “Selected” not Elected. Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”, 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”, Romans 1-32 – whole chapter.

  7. I am going to hold out. This is my home, and my ancestors are buried here. Green runs through my veins. I am teaching my children how to live off grid – very comfortably.

    Now that the federal feeding trough is running out, and most Vermonter’s are unable to withstand any more taxes, Vermont will cease to be attractive to them, and they will move on. Like the locusts they are.

  8. The whole GW SA and 23 member profiteers and Carbon Tax is unconstitutional because every elected member of the Vermont Legislature takes an oath not to injure the people,the the whole mess of forced taxation in is Tyranny!Rep.Charles Wilson!Thank You Alison for printing the truth in an excellent way!