www.reesemarshall.com 607-334-3633 Fall/Winter 2008
From the President’s Desk Comparing Fuels Requires Rigor
We have had a lot of questions over the last year about whether oil is still a good choice for a home heating
fuel, or if other sources like wood or pellets are a reasonable alternative. Comparing fuels can be a
daunting task. Fuels are measured and priced differently. The appliances that use them offer varying
efficiencies. Other important issues like availability and supply, degree of maintenance required, safety,
and/or environmental and air quality issues may also affect which fuel you choose to heat your home with.
In this article we will compare the following fuels: No. 2 Fuel Oil, Propane, Natural Gas, Electricity, Wood
Pellets and split cord wood.
Cost of Fuel
Dear Valued Customer, When looking at cost, one must first covert the fuel into how much energy is in that fuel. A British Thermal
Unit (Btu) is the basis for measuring energy. One Btu is about equal to the energy released in burning one
Another heating season is upon us, wood match. The average NY home annually requires about 92 million Btus to stay warm through the
and we bring you good news. winter (that’s a lot of matches!).
We are pleased the price of oil has
returned to more manageable levels, Once you know the number of Btus found in each fuel, you can determine the cost per million Btus. Many
and that compared to other fuels, it still would stop there, but it is also important to adjust that energy output by the efficiency of the unit you plan
is a great choice for home heating. to use it in. But don’t worry, you don’t have to run all the math yourself. Based on a terrific fuel calculator
The world may be full of uncertainty, available through the US government’s Energy Information Agency (www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls),
but at least you can feel good about the answers are easy. Below is a table derived from the cost calculator found there. The prices are based
your heating fuel. on actual local pricing on November 24, 2008, and include delivery fees, if any.
Tough times are here, however, and
even with prices pulling back, you or Fuel Heat Fuel Price Per Approx. Fuel Cost Per
someone you know may need some Fuel Price Per C ontent Per Million Btu Efficiency Million Btu
help. Take note of the resources you Fuel Type Unit Unit (dollars) Un it (Btu) (dollars) Heating Appliance Type (%) (dollars)
have in New York (HeatSmart NY) and
Fuel Oil (#2) Gallon $2.99 138,690 $21.56 Furnace or Boiler 87% $24.78
in your community (Local Resources),
listed on the flip side.
Electricity Kwh $0.150 3,412 $43.96 Baseboard Room Heater 100% $43.96
We hope you will also support our
delivery men this winter by keeping a Natural Gas Therm $2.38 100,000 $23.80 Furnace or Boiler 90% $26.44
path cleared to your fill pipe. This effort
on your part makes a HUGE difference Propane Gallon $2.49 91,333 $27.26 Furnace or Boiler 90% $30.29
to our men in the field.
Wood Cord $225.00 20,000,000 $11.25 Room Heater (Vented) 55% $20.45
Thank you, and happy holidays.
Pellets Ton $300.00 16,500,000 $18.18 Room Heater (Vented) 80% $22.73
Kerosene Gallon $3.49 135,000 $25.85 Room Heater (Vented) 80% $32.31
Doug Cottle, President The table shows that from strictly a cost perspective, electricity is the most expensive with Kerosene,
We make warm friends. Natural Gas and Propane coming in above average. Surprisingly, cord wood and wood pellets offer only
a small savings to fuel oil once you compare them on the same basis.
Supply According to the EPA, natural gas distribution systems are
Along with price, reliable supply is an important consideration. After responsible for over 25% of methane emissions in this country,
all, high demand usually means cold weather, just when having that making it second only to landfills in the emissions of this potent
fuel is critical. Our years of experience, investment in bulk storage, greenhouse gas.
excellent credit and long-standing relationships with our suppliers Replacing electric heat in homes with oil equipment lowers greenhouse
means we are always able to deliver the products we sell. We have gas emissions by more than 50% - or 16 tons of greenhouse gases
never held up a delivery because we could not get supply. That cannot per year for each house that is converted to oil.
be said for all the competition. Oil is
û safe. Heating oil is non-explosive. Unlike propane or natural gas,
û Recent calls to area wood pellet providers confirmed they are still if a heating oil leak should occur, it is not an explosive hazard. Wood
back-ordering pellets, a trend that began last summer (The Daily stoves have a high fire risk associated with them due to chimney
Star, 8/21/08). fires, and pellet stoves also carry this risk if not properly maintained.
û well seasoned hardwood may be difficult to find at the last
ûrisk of exposure to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) is
minute, and green wood is very inefficient and not safe to burn substantially less with oil heat than with natural gas or wood heat.
due to increased creosote build-up and risk of chimney fire. Carbon monoxide cannot be detected by one's senses, and
û Natural gas delivery is subject to the pipeline system. Our supply prolonged exposure to it can cause injury and even death.
of LP gas / propane, however, is supplemented by “cavern gas”
which we can draw upon in times of supply disruption, so our Convenience and ease of use
customers never have to worry about pipeline problems. Your lifestyle and health may deeply affect the value of a convenient fuel.
For some it may be an essential to have a convenient fuel. Others don’t
Health, Safety and the Environment mind the extra effort required. There is, however, a pretty direct
Indoor and outdoor air quality should be a consideration when correlation between the cost of the fuel and its ease of use.
deciding on which fuel you choose. There are many types of Wood,
û coal and pellets all require your daily attention in the form of
emissions. They include particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide stacking, storing and loading the fuel. Daily ash removal and related
(CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur oxides (SOx), and they all cleaning is also required. Depending on your physical abilities,
affect air quality. Fuel Oil, Kerosene, Propane and Natural Gas all health, or daily schedule, you may find the small savings is not worth
burn efficiently and cleanly, with modern units contributing very little the extra effort.
to particulate or other emissions. The following air quality and safety ûElectricity requires no maintenance, not even an annual cleaning, but it
facts should also weigh in on your choice: is the most expensive.
û Residential wood burning in the U.S. emits 420,000 tons of PM Fuel
û Oil, Propane and Natural gas require annual or occasional tune
each year, contributing to higher mortality rates and lung ups. For most homeowners, these fuels offer the right balance
disease, including asthma in children (source: EPA). between cost and convenience .
û pellet stoves emit 10 times less particulate pollution than
older wood stoves, they still release 50 times more particles But what about the future?
than an oil furnace. These patterns also hold true for carbon Looking ahead, innovation and technology may change the range of
monoxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions. products we offer. With over 70 years of experience, we make it our
(Portland Press Herald, 7/23/08, “Burning Question: Oil or wood business to stay informed about all the options out there. The fact is
less dirty”). alternative fuels and renewable energy still come at a premium. In the
û emissions from burning natural gas in an appliance might be
While mean time, we are confident petroleum products are still the best way to
low, the magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to go today. They are clean, reliable and reasonable - a “trifecta” in home
the natural gas distribution systems is actually quite high. heating fuels.
New Employee Profile:
Ira Wheeler If you need it - remember - there is help
If you can help - it is needed.
Reliable, Experienced, Friendly Winter can be a cold cruel season. Fortunately there
are a number of groups and government agencies
When we hire a new employee, dedicated to helping the less fortunate. Some can help
experience is important. When we are directly with heating fuel costs, others can help make
considering someone for propane ends meet in other ways.
work, experience is essential. Ira
Wheeler, our newest propane delivery We hope you will save this list as a resource. It may be
and installation technician, brings the you find yourself in need, or perhaps you have time or
best kind of experience to the job. he likes best about his job. other resources you wish to donate. Either way, you
First, Ira has several years of Finally, you could say we are family. can get or give help through many of the offices and
Some time back, Ira’s grandfather, groups listed below.
experience delivering propane.
Propane is pretty flammable, so Ralph, was our employee. He delivered
experience over the road, and making fuel and provided service for our Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (HEAP). . . . . . . . (607) 337-1500
deliveries means a lot. Whether customers for 35 years and was much Will help with fuel costs, cash assistance for unemployed, family services.
delivering fuel or installing a new tank, liked and respected. Office for the Aging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 337-1770
Ira is the type of person who will make “Ira is a great addition to our delivery Will help with fuel costs, updating home heating systems.
Opportunities for Chenango County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 334-7114
sure the job is done right, and safety team,” observes Doug Cottle, “He is so
Help with food and fuel costs, weatherization (607) 337-1700
always comes first, reliable and really knows the area. I
American Red Cross . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 334-4565
Second, Ira knows the area well. He trust him to get the job done right.” Help with electricity, fuel oil, and propane in an emergency.
grew up here, knows the back roads, We feel fortunate to attract such Catholic Charities of Chenango County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 334-8444
neighborhoods, and farms throughout great local talent to our propane team. Food pantry, help with medical prescriptions, emergency utility payments.
If you see Ira, please give him a warm Salvation Army. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 336-7171
our delivery area. His contact with the Thrift store (M, T, W, Th, F, Sat from 9-5, Weds 9-9)
customers out in the community is what welcome. Department of Social Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 337-1700
Help with employment, HEAP, family services or shelter information.
Important Customer Information
Rural Services of Chenango County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 863-3828
Food Pantry (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
Sheriff’s Department . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 334-2000
As we enter into the heart of the heating season, we thought it would be a good time to remind
you about some of our key delivery policies. Otsego County
Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (HEAP) . . . . . . . . (607) 547-1700
If you are on automatic delivery, we will make sure you do not run out of fuel. If there are any Will help with fuel costs, cash assistance for unemployed, family services.
credit problems, we will contact you in advance of the anticipated delivery day to work it out. Office for the Aging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 547-4232
You do not have to check your tank, place a call, or remember a schedule. Just relax and stay Will help with fuel costs, updating home heating systems.
warm! Opportunities for Otsego County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 433-8000
Help with food and fuel costs, weatherization (800) 986-5463
If you are a will call customer you must place your fuel order a full week ahead of when you American Red Cross . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 432-5353
need it so we can fit you into our delivery schedule. We require a minimum order of 150 Help with electricity, fuel oil, and propane in an emergency.
gallons. Catholic Charities of Otsego County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 432-0061
Help with medical prescriptions, emergency utility payments, food pantry.
If you cannot wait and require an emergency delivery, you will be charged a fee of $65, or $85 Department of Social Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (607) 547-4355
on evenings and weekends. Before ordering an emergency delivery we encourage you to Can help direct you to employment, HEAP, (607) 547-1700
confirm you are actually out of fuel. family services or shelter information
Heat smart, New York 2. Also $3.5 million in federal grants to low-income New Yorkers was secured
Earlier this summer we encouraged our customers to fill out a petition for the installation of energy efficiency measures in 1,205 homes. The
grants, awarded by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal
expressing their concern about high fuel costs, and to add their thoughts
(DHCR), will enable weatherization agencies across New York to address
about how we might combat our energy problems. Many of you filled out unmet energy efficiency needs in their communities.
the petition and sent it back to us. We made lots of copies and
forwarded them to various state and federal officials, as well as to our 3. Governor David A. Paterson launched a new statewide, multi-agency
industry representatives. Thanks in part to petitions like ours, and public information education campaign called HeatSmartNY, to provide
pressure from various industry and consumer groups, meaningful New Yorkers with the tools and assistance they need to get through this
changes occurred on the state and federal levels to provide more coming winter. Eight New York State agencies and authorities have
assistance and support to those facing higher fuel bills. collaborated to address this vital issue and bring relief to New York's most
at-risk residents. Check out their website (www.HeatSmartNY.org), which
Here are some of the concrete steps that have been made since then: has loads of useful information, and helpful links. A hotline number (877-
1. New York’s congressional delegation secured $476 million in Low- NY-SMART), has also been created, as well as public service
Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for announcements and a series of 630 statewide workshops to provide
New York to enable its HEAP program to deal with what is consumers with easy, do-it-yourself tips to lower heating bills, as well as
expected to be a winter with significantly increased demand for information about New York's heating-related programs.
home heating aid for low-income families, senior citizens and the
disabled. The federal government’s action will significantly boost Thanks to all of you that took the time to send us your opinion.
efforts to provide relief to cash-strapped New Yorkers unsure Together we made a difference!
about how they will pay to heat their homes this winter.
Permit No. 104
Norwich, NY Norwich, NY 13815
U.S. Postage PAID 6254 County Rd. 32
PRESORTED Reese-Marshall Co.