Serving Our Seniors & the Erie-Huron CAC hosted a public forum on Friday, July 18. The topic was AFFORDING HOME HEATING: WHAT'S IN OUR FUTURE? The news was that our costs for heating will not be coming down in the foreseeable future. We should plan on it rising because we are competing with developing countries who need this energy as badly as we do. And they are willing to pay more for it.
The advice for now is focus on "weatherizing" our homes. If done correctly it can reduce energy consumption by 30 percent. Although 30 percent sounds like a lot, I have to ask — 30 percent of what? If the average home heating bill becomes $400.00/month, 30 percent does not make home heating affordable. For those who are heating with fuel oil, propane or electricity paying $700.00 - $1,000.00 for a month's worth of heating – 30 percent is not enough!
Personally, I found Rev. Herman Robinson to be the one who made the most profound and valuable statement at the forum. In essence, this is what he said: The United States is a capitalistic society. This country has been built on the spirit of competition. Only when corporations see that they are going to lose market share are they willing to rethink how they serve their customers. Then he gave the analogy of the auto industry losing market share to foreign-made models. Today we have some of the best American cars we have ever produced. This never would have happened if it weren't for competition.
He went on to say that the same holds true for First Energy, Columbia Gas and suppliers of propane and fuel oil. To create competition, our elected and appointed officials must do two things:
1. Bolster research and development of alternative energy systems that citizens can buy and install to their homes.
2. Change energy regulations so citizens can have an economical
choice of going to a self-powered system of alternative energy or remaining reliant on their energy company/suppliers.
Only when citizens have this kind of choice will companies like First
Energy, Columbia Gas and suppliers of propane and fuel oil be motivated to figure out a way to offer affordable home heating for our future. Thank you Rev. Robinson. You are ahead of the curve.