Letter to the editor: Affordable heat act is a step in the right direction

In reading the back-and-forth comments about the Affordable Heat Act, S.5, I hear the frustrations of many voices. I believe we need to calm down and gather more information on the details. Our legislators are fine, hard-working, smart people and I know they do not expect us to immediately give up fossil fuels and find $247,000 or some such amount, in order to pay for zero-carbon methods of heating and transportation!

As someone suggested recently on our Front Porch Forum, we can all take it step by step, sometimes in baby steps, in the right direction. It is a change of attitude, not a need to spend money on what we can’t afford. Over the last few years, I have put in one heat pump (not the two my house needs) while still using my propane boiler for now as backup. I am leasing the solar panels on my roof and am “renting” batteries from GMP, in order to reduce up-front costs (I know, I gave up the tax benefits). I have given my car to a family member and my husband and I share his electric car. If we both need it at the same time, I will happily take the bus. I am fortunate that my small house is well-insulated already, since I think that weatherization is the first and most necessary step to take. There is help to pay for that if one cannot afford it, and for many other energy savings that we can all start to make.

This bill will make it more affordable for Vermonters to transition to cleaner heating systems and over time, these will reduce the financial burden compared with fossil fuel heating systems. Not only will this save Vermonters money, but it will lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act of 2020 set goals, we need to try to meet them.

I feel lucky to live in a state which tries so hard to better the lives of its people in many ways. So far, we have not had the deluge of catastrophic fires, floods and hurricanes that other states have had to suffer. Events like those will come to Vermont if we do not work together and each make an effort. We cannot do this overnight, but we have to make a start so that we don’t have to tell our grandchildren “Sorry, it’s up to you!” We pulled together after 9/11 and at the onset of the pandemic. We can do this!

Sally Jenks Roth


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