What’s Up with the Massachusetts Clean Heat Standard?

A Letter from Our President

Dear Friends,

By now, I’m sure you may have seen one of our TV commercials, flyers, or emails regarding the upcoming MassDEP Clean Heat Standard regulations. Many of you have contacted our office with questions on this subject and what exactly this could mean for our customers. So, what is a Clean Heat Standard? Officially, according to the MassDEP website: A Clean Heat Standard (CHS) regulation would require heating energy suppliers to replace fossil heating fuels with clean heat over time by implementing clean heat or purchasing credits.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not so fast. A properly designed and implemented CHS program could be good. But what is becoming increasingly apparent in our stakeholder meetings with the DEP is that they either aren’t interested in creating a diverse and comprehensive greenhouse-gas-lowering regulation or they are just ignorant as to how the thermal sector really works.

MassDEP Wants to Take Away Your Energy Choice

Back to their definition of a CHS. We the energy suppliers have the ability now to replace and deliver fossil fuels with clean heat. We at PayLessForOil.com have been delivering high-percentage bio-blended heating fuel for quite some time now. What the DEP definition DOES NOT MENTION is they (apparently) want to severely limit which types of alternative clean-heat fuels qualify as “clean heat”.

Only waste-feedstock biodiesel has been mentioned as a suitable alternative thus far. Now this bio feedstock happens to be what we currently blend, but if it does become the only alternative there is not enough waste-feedstock biodiesel available to meet the needs of Massachusetts and the price of this biofuel will dramatically increase! It is our opinion that all biodiesel that creates a federal RIN (renewable identification number) should qualify as a suitable low-carbon alternative. It is also our opinion that renewable diesel/renewable heating oil should be included in the CHS. If the purpose of the CHS is truly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the quickest possible fashion, any fuel or technology that does indeed lower greenhouse gas emissions should qualify under the program.


If MassDEP Gets Their Way, You’ll Pay

Let’s examine the last few words of the DEP CHS definition: “or purchasing credits.” If a supplier of heating oil, propane, or natural gas cannot offer a clean heat alternative mentioned in the above paragraph, they will have to purchase an appropriate number of Alternative Compliance Payment Credits. What the DEP definition again DOES NOT MENTION is exactly how much money those credits will cost. By our estimates, this will equate to more than a billion dollars annually! Increasing each year! This “Carbon Tax” will be passed down to every consumer in the Commonwealth who utilizes heating oil, propane, natural gas, and most likely electricity. So essentially everyone in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

If the DEP severely limits which technologies qualify as “clean heat”, the only choice marketers will have to stay compliant is to pay those expensive alternative compliance payments. What does the DEP plan to do with their billions of dollars in alternative compliance payment revenue? While we do not have a definitive answer on that yet, it does appear they want to give it away to low- and moderate-income households in the form of incentives to convert to heat pumps or with assistance in paying bills.

if MassDEP gets their way, you'll pay

Renewable Liquid Fuels Should Be Part of the Clean Energy Solution

It is time to be honest here. The only “Clean Heat” technology the DEP really wants is for every household in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to convert to a heat pump. It has become apparent that their entire Clean Heat Standard program will be developed to ensure the demise of any other heating technology, even other clean heat technology. The DEP isn’t even trying to hide that fact. WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN AN ALL-EGGS-IN-ONE-BASKET APPROACH TO ENERGY POLICY! NOR DO WE BELIEVE THAT CONSUMERS SHOULD NOT HAVE CHOICES IN THEIR ENERGY OPTIONS!

I mentioned earlier that a well-thought-out and designed Clean Heat Standard could be quite beneficial to the residents of the Commonwealth. Conversely, a poorly implemented program would be devastating. The DEP claims to be inspired by California’s LCFS program (Low Carbon Fuel Standard) and can implement the CHS in such a way. They mention this often. Unfortunately, what they appear to be proposing is nothing like the LCFS. The LCFS INSPIRES INNOVATION! The LCFS DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE against any technology! If technology does indeed reduce carbon emissions, it is welcomed with open arms. California does not take a put-all-eggs-in-one-basket approach. Heat pumps can certainly be part of the solution, but so can clean renewable liquid fuels.

ACT NOW to Make Your Voice Heard!

Considering all of this, WE ARE ASKING ALL MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS TO CONTACT THEIR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES AND DEMAND THAT THIS POLICY BE PULLED OUT OF DEP HANDS AND BE PUT IN THE HANDS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE! A policy of this magnitude SHOULD NOT and CAN NOT be determined by a select few alone at one department in the Commonwealth. This policy should be debated OPENLY in a LEGISLATIVE PROCESS by the people you have elected to represent you!

Our motto at PayLess has always been simple: to deliver quality heating fuel with great service at great prices. All of us here at PayLessForOil.com will continue to fight for the opportunity to continue to do that. THE BUTTON BELOW will allow you to reach out to your designated local representative. PLEASE CONTACT THEM TODAY!


Christopher Chase