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Heating Oil Dealers Rally Against New Tax For Efficiency Programs

March 19, 2013 Heating oil dealers rallied at a public hearing Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford against a tax proposed to fund some of the state's efficiency projects.

The tax on heating oil and propane 1.5 cents per gallon until July 2014, 2.5 cents per gallon until July 2015, and 3.5 cents per gallon on forward would feed into a fund set aside for programs that audit and outfit home to make them more energy efficiency. So far these programs for heating oil and propane users have received patchwork funding from a number of sources.

The heating oil dealers many who also deliver propane see it as the latest attack from the state on their livelihood. Chris Herb, vice president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association in a statement called the tax "a flat-out assault on our industry and our customers who are going to pay the price."

It follows Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's new energy plan, which calls for hundreds of thousands of homes to switch from heating oil and other fuels to natural gas in the next decade.

Herb said he is also wary about the state's use of special funds, which in dry budgetary times have a tendency to be pushed into the general fund.

The state's efficiency programs follow the fuel they came from. For example, conservation funds from natural gas customers go into efficiency work on natural gas homes.

But heating oil and propane users, since they are not regulated by the state, lack a stable funding program to audit and outfit homes that use those fuels, which amount to 50 percent of homes and 10 percent of businesses in the state, according to the state's energy plan.

Further, the plan said, providing a long-term solution to funding efficiency programs for heating oil and propane customers would encourage contractors to invest in offering weatherization and energy efficiency services.

"Without the assurance of a stable, sustainable market for their products and services, contractors won't expand to include weatherization services, building owners won't invest in more efficient equipment, companies won't develop new technologies, entrepreneurs won't find innovative ways to bring efficiency services to more customers, and investors won't provide capital," the state's energy plan said.

Click here to read the full article from the Hartford Courant

National Oilheat Research Alliance ECC is funded in part through the National Oilheat Research Alliance.