Energy retailers in New Hampshire and the New England region are celebrating the enactment of legislation that will improve the efficiency and environmental security of home heating oil while reducing consumer energy costs.
New Hampshire Senate Bill SB309 lowers the sulfur content of all home heating oil statewide from the current level of 4,000 parts-per-million to an “ultra-low sulfur” (ULS) standard of 15 parts-per-million. The bill was signed into law by New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and will take effect on July 1, 2018.
Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory have found that ULS heating oil dramatically reduces emissions and improves heating system performance. This means consumers will save on maintenance costs associated with sulfur-build up in the combustion chambers and heat exchangers of oil-fired boilers and furnaces. It also improves the longevity of heating systems and will allow the introduction of a new generation of oil-fired appliances with efficiencies above 90 percent. These systems are specifically designed to utilize this cleaner fuel.
Environmental officials and advocates have also praised the many air quality and public health benefits. ULS heating oil virtually eliminates emissions that have been linked to acid rain and atmospheric haze, including particulate matter and sulfur and nitrogen oxides.
“It’s not very often that we see legislation that benefits everyone, including consumers and businesses, as well as the environment,” said Kim Weiland, Area Manager for Dead River Company in Manchester. Weiland testified before the state legislature in support of SB309.
“This is a huge win for both the economy and the environment in New Hampshire,” said Bob Sculley, Executive Director of the Oilheat Council of New Hampshire, which represents the state’s home heating oil dealers.
“We applaud the work and efforts of the prime sponsor, the Senate majority leader, Senator Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro, NH, and Robert Introne, Chairman of the House Science Technology & Energy Committee, along with the co-sponsors in helping guide SB309 through the legislative process,” Scully said. “And we thank Governor Hassan for signing SB309 into law.” Both chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature had approved the bill by voice vote earlier this year.
Sharon Peterson of Apple Oil in West Haven, CT, and Chairperson of the Board at the New England Fuel Institute (NEFI), which represents dealers in the six-state region, called SB309 a “game changer.” All New England states have now enacted similar laws, which means “a single clean-burning fuel will be delivered to consumers region-wide in 2018,” she said.