“Propane Protection Laws” Will Go Away When Propane Does

An article in VT Digger today trumpets, “Attorney general reminds Vermonters of propane protection laws as snow, cold continue.” In Vermont, propane fuel dealers are required by law to deliver to customers, even if the customer isn’t up to date with paying all their past bills. We don’t let people freeze to death – if you heat with the fossil fuel propane that is.

This seems like an important safety feature in state with long, cold winters – especially on a day like today where two feet of snow blankets the ground and, in the weeks before, having endured an extended deep freeze with many days of below zero weather.

But here’s the thing…. As the Attorney General reminds Vermonters that they won’t be literally left out in the cold by their propane fuel delivery company, the legislature is making moves to eradicate those companies and all fossil heating fuels from our landscape. The Climate Action Plan would have us eliminate the use of fossil fuels for heating homes by 2040. So, what happens then?

The Climate Action Plan calls for the installation of over 200,000 electric cold-climate heat pumps to displace fossil fuel use for heating homes. But when the power goes out in February during a snowstorm accompanied by sub-zero temperatures, there is no “electricity protection law” mandating that the electric company guarantee you have enough power to survive the outage – even if you’re up to date on all your bills! If the legislature passed such a law, it would be meaningless due to the nature of electricity generation and delivery. If the power goes out, the power goes out. They’ll fix it as fast as they can, but in the meantime….

This should serve as a serious red flag for just how ridiculous and dangerous the Climate Action Plan really is. In 2040, the Digger story will likely read, “Attorney General reminds Vermonters, extreme weather likely to knock out power/heat for extended period of time. Get in your government approved electric vehicles and flee to someplace warm!” Oops… those EV’s won’t work either, will they? Guess you’re really screwed.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute


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Enter Comment Here:

  • Loren Shaw
    followed this page 2022-02-09 03:55:52 -0500
  • Christian M
    commented 2022-02-06 06:17:09 -0500
    I’m surprised by your support for a law requiring a private business to deliver paid product when there is an unpaid balance. Typically the free market approach is to let companies decide these policies on their own and to rely on private and voluntary charity otherwise. I am also surprised you don’t mention how this requirement distorts the market for systems and could incentivize propane systems over altenative heating sources.

    Like heat pumps, don’t many fossil fuel systems also not run when the power goes out?

    If you are truly concerned about how we are going to heat and power homes when the grid goes down, check out the rapid advancement of battery storage technology, on-site solar, and clean wood stoves.
  • Ed Brault
    commented 2022-02-05 16:50:25 -0500
    During the Ice Storm of 1998, I was without power for 27 days. We managed thanks to a wood stove, a KeroSun heater and several oil lamps. Under the Climate Action Plan, we would have been up the proverbial creek.
  • Peter Ludlow
    followed this page 2022-02-05 11:47:33 -0500
  • Rob Roper
    published this page in EAI Blog 2022-02-04 11:22:47 -0500