Affordable home heating means being ahead of the curve

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

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.

Comments

Anonymous

Your liberal views and your boring blogs really are tiring. Let someone else have your writing space.

Gulliver

To the person who posted below...Capitolism and competition are not liberal views. In fact, they are very republican views.

Anonymous

Unless I'm mistaken, by law, natural gas (NG) companies cannot mark up the price of NG, they can only charge for it's supply and distribution.

From what I've read, due to the recent increase in NG, the U.S. is becoming a virtual pincushion, with new wells being drilled all over the country.

Ohio sits on the Marcellus Shale, a large potential NG reserve:

http://geology.com/articles/marc...

In order to help bring the price of NG down, the state government needs to finding ways to exploit this potential resource that is in our own backyard.

Gulliver

you are right Jeff, the public is told that Columbia Gas cannot profit on the sale of the "natural gas". They say they make their money piping it to each persons home/building. For every ccf that get's piped, they charge a fee and that is where they make their money -- as Columbia Gas. However, a sister company is "NiSource" and it does profit from the sale of natural gas. NiSource doesn't do this as a charity endeavor, I assure you.

At the forum they said the president of First Energy is paid 15 million dollars. I wonder what the president of NiSource or Columnbia Gas makes. I'm sure it's compraable.

Anonymous

This woman is an expert at nothing yet has an opinion on everything. Blah blah blah blah blah. Worse than Elesbeth ever was.

Anonymous

At least Sue is proactive - who else gets discussion going! We have so much talking going on by our elected officials but never anything done. Rev Robinson was right on target - let's see our local "officials" pick up the ball and get going on this!
There are options for wind turbines besides windmills - ones small enough for a homeowner to use! Come on, "officials," have your staff do some real homework and get the information to us ASAP!

Anonymous

Blah Blah Blah your name is appropriate. Have you ever been in a meeting with Sue or talked with her one on one. Sue has multiple degrees and does her homework on the issues she addresses. I suggest you challenge Sue to a public debate on the issues so we can see exactly who is an expert on what.

Anonymous

It's not as much about having all the answers as it is about having the discussions.

Bringing people together to gather information and working to understand different perspectives and ways of thinking can't be a bad thing, and may just bring about positive change in the long run.

Anonymous

Don't you find it ironic that Columbia gas is asking for a huge rate increase when the price of natural gas has tumbled 25% in the past month? The supply of stored natural gas has increased by 3 billion cf more than experts predicted sending prices tumbling. Tell the utility companies to deal with it and buy now while the prices or low or deal with the fact that they'll have sell at a loss during the winter months when the price to buy natural gas usually increases. We as consumers don't have the option to purchase natural gas when it is at its cheapest however Columbia gas does, and should, or face the consequences.

Gulliver

TO ROB... What's really frightening is if NOW is the time for low prices, the cheapest I could find was 1.44/ccf for a fixed rate. The others are 1.50-something for a fixed rate. That is 50% higher than the fixed rate available last year (which was $1.00) for the winter heating seaon. People, a train wreck is coming our way and no one sees it coming... How come?

Anonymous

I looked at the total cost of my natural gas (NG) bill for '07.

Then I purchased an equivalent dollar amount of stock of the NG ETF (UNG).

If the price of NG goes up, I'm leveraged for some of the increase. If the price of NG goes down, I'm still money ahead 'cause I'm saving money.

I agree with the 'train wreck' and believe that over the years the price will only increase.

Approx. 30% of electricity production in the U.S. is through the burning of NG.

Gulliver

Jeff - You are a head of the game!! Nice job!! We should all follow your lead.

Anonymous

hey sue are you guys gonna bring back longaberger bingo to help fund the center.. i REALLY miss it went to every bingo that you have please let me know or and longaberger fundraisers that you have thanks teresa