Weatherization Arrives at Monhegan Island, Lowering Heating Costs for Island Residents

June 25, 2014

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, June 23, 2014, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.51 per gallon, remaining the same price as earlier this month. The average statewide price for kerosene decreased one cent in the last two weeks, to $3.98 per gallon. Propane prices also continue their decline; the average statewide price for propane (for heating customers) is now $2.83 per gallon, a drop of five cents per gallon over the last two weeks. Last year at this time, heating oil averaged $3.38 per gallon; kerosene, $3.82, and propane, $2.68.

As part of our off-season reporting, the Governor’s Energy Office continues to highlight technologies, programs, and projects that lower heating costs for Mainers. This week, the Energy Office participated in a project that brought weatherization equipment to Monhegan Island. This island weatherization project was organized by the Island Institute, in collaboration with Efficiency Maine. An energy auditor, complete with a spray-foam insulation truck (shown in the photo below), was delivered via barge to Monhegan. By week’s end, 95% of all year-round residences on the island will have spray-foam insulation. The insulation will reduce heating expenses for these homeowners, as well as provide more comfortable living during the harsh winters.


Loading the barge to carry
weatherization equipment to Monhegan Island.


Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcook meets with
Efficiency Maine staff, Island Institute staff, and island community
members upon arrival to Monhegan.

Island residents were supported in their efforts to weatherize their homes by using Efficiency Maine’s Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) incentives. Residents opted for a variety of different options, but if they chose to have an energy assessment with air sealing and insulation, they saved $1,000 on the cost of these services. All Maine citizens are eligible to participate in the HESP program. Since it was launched last September, HESP incentives have assisted over 5,000 Maine households to lower their heating costs.

The Island Institute works with island residents across the state, assisting them to develop and maintain sustainable communities. Over the last year, the Institute has worked with Efficiency Maine to weatherize more than 250 island homes. The remoteness of these island communities makes weatherization, like all other ordinary life tasks, a challenge. However, thanks to the commitment and resolve of community members, and assistance from the Island Institute and Efficiency Maine, lowering heating costs has become an opportunity, not an obstacle for these Mainers.

For more information on the Island Institute, visit: http://www.islandinstitute.org/

For more information on Efficiency Maine’s Home Energy Savings Program, visit: http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/home-energy-savings-program/

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.51) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $25.31. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $14.73 (at $1.47/therm); propane, $30.99 (at $2.83/gallon); kerosene $29.48 (at $3.98/gallon); wood pellets, $14.67 (at $242/ton); cord wood, $11.36 (at $250/cord) and electricity, $43.96 (at 15 cents per kwh).

These fuel-only prices do not take into account the type of heating system, nor its efficiency. For example, the electricity cost is for traditional baseboard heat. Other electric heating technologies, such as heat pumps and electric thermal storage (ETS), may offer consumers energy savings. Cold climate heat pumps, a recent technological advancement, are much more efficient than baseboard electric heat, so total energy costs are lower than many other types of heating fuels. ETS offers savings by utilizing off-peak electric rates, available in many areas of the state.

The Energy Office has a calculator on its web site that allows consumers to obtain more detailed estimates of home heating costs, and the price impacts of various types of fuel, heating systems and heating appliances. Heating costs vary considerably from home to home. The home heating calculator can assist homeowners in finding the best heating option for their home, location, lifestyle, and budget http://www.maine.gov/energy/index.html

As of June 23, 2014


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.51

3.48

3.55

3.53

3.47

3.58

High

3.87

3.87

3.75

3.80

3.60

3.65

Low

3.24

3.24

3.36

3.35

3.24

3.46

Kerosene

3.98

3.97

4.01

3.99

3.94

3.98

Propane

2.83

2.88

2.97

2.75

2.79

2.69

It is important to note that the price for heating oil is a statewide average, and that prices in a given geographic region of the state may be considerably higher or lower than this average. This week, within the Energy Office sample, the highest heating oil price ($3.87) was found in one region in the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($3.24) was recorded in two regions. Also, the statewide average price for propane is based on a use of at least 900 gallons a year. Households using propane just for cooking or hot water generally pay a higher per gallon price. The table above provides current Maine cash prices in dollars rounded to the nearest penny.

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For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lisa Smith
(207) 624-7445
lisa.j.smith@maine.gov