State Energy Plan A Threat For Some Businesses

Home Heating Oil Companies Protest Dependence on Natural Gas

Opposition To State Energy Plan
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
Opposition To State Energy Plan

State officials held the first of several public hearings on Connecticut’s new comprehensive energy strategy last night, and many of those who attended voiced their concerns about the plan’s focus on natural gas.

Connecticut’s new energy plan calls for as many as 300,000 homes to be heated with natural gas instead of oil. That doesn’t sit well with the 600 or so home heating oil businesses in the state. Dozens of them said so in Bridgeport yesterday, including David Cohen, who works for Standard Oil of Connecticut. He said his industry could lose thousands of jobs.

“Before the state embarks on a multi-billion-dollar spending plan with very flawed assumptions, it should think very long and hard about the people that it will hurt," Cohen said.

More than 60 people attended the public hearing, many of them sporting stickers that read “Support small business, not utilities.” Clay Bassett is general manager for Northfield Fuel in Greenwich. He took issue with the state’s plan to build 900 miles of new gas mains.

“What if I don’t want miles of new pipelines being ripped through my neighborhood with my tax dollars?" he asked. "That is wrong.”

Many environmental advocates have also been critical of the plan’s reliance on natural gas, saying there’s no guarantee that its price will stay low in the long-term. But they’ve also praised the fact that a plan at least exists to try and bring cheaper, cleaner energy to Connecticut.

The energy strategy is still in draft form, and the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is accepting public comment on it until mid-December. The next public hearing is on November 19 in New Haven.