By Gene Bifano
S.5 passed by the Legislature -- will make your life costly. S.5 is the true meaning of gaslighting -- trying to convince someone the opposite of what actually is. S.5, first called the Clean Energy Act, was changed to the Affordable Heat Act to get support from people who don’t invest time to understand things and rely on slogans.
This act is pure Communism clear and simple. Vermont and its actions will control your life and energy needs. The Legislature is taking over the energy sector. The last chapters of the bill refer to constitutional challenges.
We fought a Revolutionary War to gain freedom from a dictatorial government. We fought WWII to stop the spread of dictatorial government. We fought two wars in Asia and a Cold War to stop Communism. And now Vermont has shoved that all aside with S.5.
For instance, S.5 enables utility-controlled water heaters and maybe eventually your heat as well.
When I appeared before the legislators and advised them that electric utility companies will be controlling our homes through smart meters, that offended some legislators who then made smart meters optional.
DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT
S.5 codifies those fears. American legislators don’t have the right to confer on companies or themselves the ability to regulate our homes, our comfort level or when you do a wash or who we deal with.
Vermont will be able to assign your energy provider (default provider). Where’s the freedom of choice? If your provider can’t keep up with the ton of paperwork, reporting requirement, or managing their energy credits, they will be replaced. What happens to the fuel-buying plans we have?
S.5 resurrects the Carbon/Energy Credit scheme that made Al Gore and George Soros millions with no effect on global warming. With S.5, the rich and connected get richer and everyone else suffers.
The nationwide companies will leave. They don’t have to put up with this crap. And, the local guys will struggle and do one of two things: raise their prices or close shop to deal with this mess. At hearings, they have said as much.
NOT GOING TO HAPPEN
Affordable means lower prices, that’s simply not going to happen. Affordable heating and climate change policies are mutually exclusive in Vermont.
The Public Utilities Commission and the Vermont Department of Public Service will hire people to oversee the mess. They will assume direct supervision of our fuel providers.
There is the Clean Heat Advisory Council to create standards whose members will be compensated either by the state or companies we pay for energy, not politics.
Vermont will need to build a Heat Credit Trading System. With Vermont’s history managing computer systems, my guess -- $30 million. Vermont spent over $30 million to build the Obama care website to house information for two companies that basically have same products. By any stretch of the imagination, it should have cost less than $2 million. This system is way more complicated.
And, of course, there are consultants to be hired, per S.5.
Fuel suppliers will have to hire staff just to try to meet the regulatory morasses being created.
The coup de gras is the Equity Council. How’s that going to make things affordable. Will this group of activists be telling the government and businesses who to provide services for or dictate price?
This is Vermont’s energy version of Act 68/60 which as we all know is a disaster.
As a reminder, energy is the key economic driver in industrial societies. When energy cost goes up – everything else goes up because just about everything needs energy: transportation, manufacturing, farming, basic survival, wholesale and retail establishments, office building, etc. When those prices go up, what happens to our salaries and retirement income?
ENERGY EFFICIENCY CHANGES
S.5 requires energy providers to make energy efficiency changes to their customers’ buildings to stay in business or be replaced by a default provider. How are our local fuel providers going to afford doing that? Who pays for that?
Oh, one of the stated objectives, S.5 relies heavily on federal funds now and in the future. And when that runs out?
The only way to make heating more affordable is to lower the cost of energy -- pure and simple. Or, eliminate heating fuel taxes.
So, what do we know about electric heating? It’s expensive. Baseboard heating is not allowed anymore and will need to be replaced per the department of public service -- huge drain on the grid.
What is left -- heat pumps, or electric furnaces/boilers? Neither may be as energy efficient as their Energy Star counterparts.
Heat pumps may be OK for new construction; buildings can be plumbed for them. Building size dictates number of pumps. Heat pumps rely on air relay for heat, ours gets pretty cold. Trying to retrofit will cost millions in equipment and construction cost.
The cost to replace non-electric appliances will cost more millions.
There are a ton of things the Legislature can do to make heating affordable – S.5 is not one of them.
Sadly, if Vermont got rid of every cow, gas/diesel vehicles and went all electric, it wouldn’t have one iota’s impact on the earth’s climate. China is building 40 new coal-fired plants.
Why the coal plants? China can’t meet its current energy needs with the world’s largest hydro dam, 47 nuclear plants (17 under construction) 1,118 coal plants along with wind and solar. They had brownouts and blackouts, unlike some Western nations, they are fixing their problem.
Either China doesn’t believe in global warming or they’re relying on the U.S./Vermont to destroy its economy and freedoms to compensate for them.
China is not the only nation building coal-fired plants.
Rain forest destruction has resulted in the earth losing the ability to sequester over 1 trillion tons/year of CO2; with the loss of billons of tons of O2 production.
No matter what Vermont does – China’s coal plants will make Vermont efforts de mimus.
Let’s encourage the governor to veto this bill so it can be fixed with common sense.
Bifano lives in Warren.