FUEL FOR THOUGHT
By now, the cold snap and the ‘Bomb Cyclone’ that hit in early January is out of everyone’s minds but it’s important and timely for Connecticut residents to understand what happened to the energy sector during this time as the state just released their final Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES). The CES, which is prepared by the DEEP, is to act as a roadmap for policy makers in regards to state energy programs and policies over the next several years.
The main focus of the CES is to switch much of the heating and transportation sectors towards electricity as a way to reduce greenhouse gases. This means switching heating systems from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps and advancing electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the state.
With an emphasis on electricity as a way to reduce fossil fuel usage, it seems ironic that the plan makes no mention or proposed action towards the fact that electricity is produced by fossil fuels – currently mostly natural gas. And if you consistently read our bulletins, you already know that natural gas produces more greenhouse gas emissions than Bioheat heating oil. But more importantly, when the temperatures dropped in January and the price of natural gas spiked, where did the power plants turn to generate electricity? To oil!
During a normal period, oil makes up less than 1% of the electricity generated in Connecticut, during the cold snap, it represented nearly 40% which diverted millions of gallons from homes. And this is certainly not a new concept, in fact, many large natural gas customers like power plants are actually incentivized during periods of high demand to switch to alternative fuel sources. This practice can wreak havoc on supply and inflate prices which falls back on consumers and local fuel companies.
Our number one goal is to provide the best service to our customers no matter what the market conditions are. We also strive to educate our customers in all facets of energy so they can make informed decisions. If you are interested in reading more on the Connecticut CES, visit ct.gov/deep.