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First Winter Weather Blast Threatens Widespread Power Outages as Major Storm Highlights Importance of Energy Diversity

17 December 2020

December 17, 2020


NEHPBA: Preserving access to natural gas and other fuel sources is critical for emergency readiness in major weather events

Sudbury, MA – The Northeast Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association today urged residents across New England and the Northeast to be safe and prepare for the impact from a major winter storm – with widespread power outages and property damage from falling trees a likelihood in many communities.

The late-year Nor’reaster also highlights the critical nature of energy diversity and the risks of over-dependence on electric power for household and commercial heating.

“A winter storm can knock out sections of the power grid in an instant. And severe cold and winter weather can place people at serious risk almost immediately,” said Joel Etter, President of NEHPBA and Senior Wholesale Account Manager for Hearth & Home Technologies. “Winter Nor’easters, blizzards and ice storms are something we are all too familiar with in New England. When the grid goes down in those conditions, over-reliance on electric power can be dangerous.”

NEHPBA is part of a cross-section of industry associations and advocates fighting to maintain energy diversity in the marketplace – as special interests support initiatives to ban natural gas, complicate regulations around propane and wood-burning fuel products and limit choices for home-heating systems. The industry is working together with other businesses as well as consumers to ensure natural gas continues to be available in New England and the Northeast as part of a complete range of energy choices.

Survey data commissioned by the nationwide Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association in November found 65 percent of American voters polled believe it’s either “very important” or “somewhat important” to have multiple fuel choices for home heating. Additionally, 71 percent of voters surveyed said it was either “very important” or “somewhat important” to keep their home heating system without being forced to switch fuel types.

Banning new natural gas connections or curbing existing use dramatically will hurt Americans when costs of living are already high. The over-reliance on electric power for heating and cooking exposes households to higher risks when major weather events knock out the grid.

“New England households need diverse energy choices to maintain financial stability, and to protect families when the region’s electric power infrastructure is placed at risk by events such as a major winter storm,” said Karen Luther, Executive Director of NEHPBA. “It’s not just a matter of preference. It’s a matter of good energy policy and a matter of household safety and preparedness.”

About the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

Since 1985, the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) has represented the interests of the hearth industry in the Northeast.  NEHPBA was originally incorporated in January 1985 as the Northeast Solid Fuel Alliance (NESFA) in recognition of the unique demands of business in the Northeast. In June of 1992, NESFA members voted to become the first affiliated member of the national Hearth Products Association (HPA) and became the Northeast Hearth Products Association (NEHPA). In 2002, NEHPA became the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) in conjunction with the merger of the national HPA with the Barbecue Industry Association to become the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), thus recognizing the diversification of the modern industry.  The NEHPBA name has remained since 2002.

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