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Scott Williams Newsletter – Spring 2021

We’re Rushing Toward an Energy Disaster

Ken Williams

Dear Friends,

I’m sure you followed the debacle of power outages in Texas and elsewhere due to the deep freeze in February. We all empathized around here. It seems as if every few months, a storm knocks out our power, leaving tens of thousands of families without energy for days or weeks.

This issue has gained urgency because the commonwealth is rushing full steam ahead on a course to “electrifying everything” to reduce carbon emissions. We have been put on a disastrous path that could outlaw all appliances that use fossil fuels — including heating oil, natural gas and propane — and replace them with electric heat pumps. What legislators do not outlaw, they are likely to tax heavily. That could cost you thousands of dollars.

In March, Governor Charlie Baker signed a new climate law that requires Massachusetts to reduce its carbon emissions significantly in the decades ahead — with the end goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. That’s exactly the same plan the heating oil industry outlined back in 2019! Our strategy is to do this with Bioheat® fuel, which already lowers carbon emissions while keeping us comfortable. That’s all without regressive carbon taxes, additional equipment costs to consumers and without overloading the electric grid.

However well-intended the “all-electric” movement is, it relies on breakthroughs that have not materialized yet and an electric grid that is already unreliable. Consider what will happen when the grid is overwhelmed by huge new demands due to the conversions of cars, buildings, etc.

More than ever, Massachusetts needs a thoughtful policy that balances the need to address our climate without putting all of our energy eggs into one fragile, electric basket.

Please join with us in raising your voice about this important issue.


Ken Williams, President

How Important Is a Cooling Tune-Up?

Annual air conditioning maintenance is very important! That’s because regular tune-ups prevent a wide range of problems that can lead to expensive repairs.

Your tune-up also keeps your home-cooling equipment running efficiently and reliably for many years. This saves money on energy costs.

Our technician will give your cooling equipment a full assessment, checking every critical component and verifying that all controls and parts are working as intended to ensure safe operation.

Maintaining your air conditioning becomes easier and repairs much less expensive when you enroll in our Silver Platter Air Conditioning Plan, which covers the cost of your tune-up, includes no-charge repairs for all covered parts, and guarantees you priority service.

Call or contact us to schedule a tune-up or to request enrollment in our Silver Platter Air Conditioning Plan. When summer gets here, you’ll be glad you did!

Making the Planet Cleaner — One Gallon at a Time

Did you know that right now, Bioheat® fuel is the only home energy source that can make an immediate impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for our climate?

Reducing carbon emissions every day

The heating oil industry’s embrace of renewable Bioheat fuel is transforming home heating and helping to create a better future.

In fact, the heating oil industry has made a commitment to the climate change movement. In September 2019, the industry resolved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2023, 40% by 2030 and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

What’s most exciting is that these ambitious objectives are achievable. Last year, two independent studies on the feasibility of accomplishing these emissions-reduction goals validated the industry’s plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with renewable Bioheat fuel. See article below.

Test case: 80% reduction in emissions

Just two heating oil retailers in the Northeast displaced nearly 1.5 million gallons of heating oil with approved Bioheat fuel in the first half of 2020.* Doing this resulted in an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to traditional heating oil.

That’s because Bioheat fuel burns more cleanly and more efficiently than conventional heating oil. You will use less heat to get the same amount of warmth, and your heating system will last longer. You’ll also likely find that you need fewer repairs on your system. All of this amounts to savings!

Bioheat fuel is readily available now and it requires no modifications to your existing system. The continued growth of Bioheat fuel puts us well on our way along the road to a low carbon future!

*Source: Diversified Energy Specialists APS Program Research, December 2020.

Where does Bioheat fuel come from?

Biodiesel (also known as biofuel) is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum-based fuels, which have a higher carbon intensity. By 2030, it’s estimated that biodiesel will displace 529 million gallons of heating oil.

Biodiesel is a non-toxic, biodegradable renewable liquid fuel. The biofuel that’s blended with heating oil to create Bioheat fuel is generally produced by agricultural byproducts, including used cooking oil (also known as yellow grease), animal fats, inedible corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil.

This puts excess oil and fats to good use. Food is never sacrificed for fuel in the production of Bioheat fuel. Bioheat fuel is also sourced and produced right here in the United States, supporting local farmers, local industries and local economies.

Bioheat fuel by the numbers

  • Ultra-low-sulfur Bioheat fuel has 99% less sulfur in it than standard heating oil, resulting in a reduction in emissions of over 70%.
  • By 2030, it’s estimated that biodiesel will displace 529 million gallons of heating oil.
  • The Northeast’s use of Bioheat fuel annually avoids more than 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions.
  • 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions is equivalent to removing 320,000 vehicles from the road — or the equivalent of the emissions from the annual energy use in 180,000 homes.

Source: Biodiesel.org

The rush to electric heat may make us stumble

It’s alarming that many state legislators continue to push for the increased use of electricity over the use of other fuels. In the case of homes, that would mean policies to replace propane, natural gas and oil-fired heating systems with electric heat pumps.

But heat pump conversions are expensive and do not work very efficiently when the weather gets cold. Plus, electricity is not a clean fuel. Electricity production generates the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. More than 63% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.*

Besides the increased impact on the environment, it is feared that an all-out “electrify everything” policy would increase the average residential household cost and put a severe strain on our aging electric grid. See article below.

*Source: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us.php

Our fragile power grid

The electric infrastructure in this country has failed us time and again, causing massive disruption, frustration and discomfort. We’ve all followed the tragic, widespread energy disaster that occurred this past winter in Texas. And we’ve all experienced a number of uncomfortable power outages in our own area over the years.

A large part of our grid was built more than 50 years ago. But today, it’s reaching capacity and old equipment is failing.

Considering that the U.S. Department of Energy has called the electric grid in our country the largest machine on the planet, upgrading our electric infrastructure will be a massive — and ultra-expensive — undertaking.

Until our electricity supply is less environmentally destructive and not prone to numerous blackouts, it is simply not the best choice for heating. That’s especially true when advancements in heating oil are already proving to be incredibly effective and affordable.

The last thing we need right now is for the electric grid to be strained by an enormous new demand — by electric cars, all-electric homes and commercial building and more.

Mass Save Heating Oil Rebates May End

The Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) has recommended eliminating all Mass Save equipment rebates and the no-interest HEAT loan for homeowners that use heating oil and propane and natural gas. The EEAC wants to redirect those funds to subsidize the cost of converting residential oil-heating systems to electric heat pumps.

If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your old heating system to a new high-efficiency model, don’t put it off any longer. Your Mass Save rebate opportunities may disappear as early as next year.

Besides, heating-oil customers have helped fund the Mass Save program through a monthly charge that appears on their electric bills. It’s time to get some of your money back!

Please visit the Rebates & Financing page on our website and then call us to request a FREE estimate on a new heating oil system.

Doing Our Part for a Cleaner Planet

Many initiatives to reduce our country’s carbon footprint involve spending hundreds of billions of dollars on incentives and systemic changes. They also involve forcing you to convert to an electric heating system that you may not want.

But here at Scott Williams, we reduced our carbon footprint dramatically when we started delivering only Bioheat® fuel, and it didn’t cost our customers a dollar extra.

Ask the Expert

Q: What is the proper thermostat setting for my A/C system?

A: Set it to whatever temperature you find comfortable and leave it there. If the system is the correct size and you turn it off, it could take days to get room temperature back to where you want it. Remember that it’s not “people conditioning,” it is air conditioning. Even when you’re away, the house is filled with air that needs to be cooled.

Q: What can I do before summer?

A: Here are five tips:

  1. Give your A/C system a test run early in the spring to see if it still operates properly. Call us if you find a problem.
  2. Start off with a clean air filter. Most filters are accessible and simple to change.
  3. Since a cooling system produces large amounts of water from condensation, you should check the drainage system. If the drain line gets clogged, water backs up and spills over the drain pan, and into your house.
  4. Schedule your annual A/C tune-up. This service includes flushing the condensation line to prevent clogs and leaks.
  5. Don’t block your air vents, especially the return, with furniture or other items. You’ll restrict air flow and your system will have to work harder to keep you cool.

Chris Sands
Service Manager