On January 25, 2023

Proposed Affordable Heat Act contains hidden tax

Dear Editor,

Vermont Senate bill S.5, the Affordable Heat Act, is an attempt to lower Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from heating  buildings in Vermont. A laudable objective.

However, the bill goes about this reduction in an extremely complicated and expensive way. It requires fossil fuel dealers to pay for their customers to invest in energy saving technologies, heat pumps, weatherization and other means, to reduce GHG. The only way fuel dealers can pay for this is to charge their customers more for the fuel purchased. Thus, increasing heating costs for Vermont families, businesses, and farms.

To be succinct about this; this is a sneaky tax on fossil fuel consumers. While the bill says nothing about a tax, there is only one way the fuel dealers can raise the money they will need to help their customers achieve GHG reductions. That is to charge their customers more. In essence a tax.

The name of the bill is very misleading, because the whole point of the bill is to increase the cost of heating by fossil fuels so as to force people, consumers, to switch to electricity, heat pumps etc.

The bill will require fossil fuel dealers to either establish a way to directly help their customers reduce fossil fuel use or set up a “Default Delivery Agent,” a third party organization of some kind to deliver the GHG reductions required to be delivered by the fossil fuel dealers who are required by the bill to do this work.

In essence the bill is requiring fossil fuel dealers to pay for their customers to reduce GHG emissions. This will reduce the amount of fuel needed for a customer to heat their home, meaning they’ll buy less from the fossil fuel dealer, meaning the dealer will have less income, less profit and eventually be put out of business. And that’s the point of the bill.

Now I’m not a fossil fuel dealer, but rather a rather large consumer of fuels. But I should think the fossil fuel dealers wouldn’t be really happy about putting themselves out of business. I am a Vermont family farmer selling farm products and not too in love with the idea of paying my customers to eat something else besides

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