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Excerpt from an article in the Times Herald-Record

In defense of Oil vs. Natural Gas

Eli Van Etten, president of the Hudson Valley Oil Heat Council (and vice president of VEO Energy Systems), sees no significant advantage for natural gas over oil heat, and he perceives service provided by oil-heat dealers as a competitive.

“Local family-run oil heat dealers provide great peace of mind by offering 24-hour emergency service, friendly advice on conservation and payment options to fit nearly any budget or income level,” Van Etten said in an email.

The economics of converting from one fuel to another might be also be clouded by the uncertainty of future fuel costs, and a less costly savings can be realized with routine boiler maintenance, according to Van Etten, whose group represents 19 oil-heat companies and 38 associate members involved in the energy business.

The facts on Oil vs. Natural Gas

A commentary by Eli Van Etten submitted to the Times Herald-Record for their story on customer conversion to natural gas.

In response to your request for the oil heat viewpoint on the topic of natural gas conversion, my thoughts are as follows:

Natural gas has no significant advantages over oil heat. The costs and the life-cycle environmental impacts are similar. The big difference is in service, because full-service oil heat dealers provide the preventive maintenance that every heating system needs, regardless of the fuel it uses. Local family run oil heat dealers also provide great peace of mind by offering 24-hour emergency service, friendly advice on conservation and payment options to fit nearly any budget or income level. Gas utilities, on the other hand, generally provide neither preventive maintenance nor emergency service. As a result, gas customers may be wasting fuel by using poorly tuned equipment, and they might have no one who will help them in the event of a heat emergency. In fact many gas utilities tell their customers to look in the phone book for a plumber or heating specialist to solve their problems.

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Excerpt from an article in the Times Herald-Record

Eli Van Etten, president of the Hudson Valley Oil Heat Council (and vice president of VEO Energy Systems), said price capping has become a popular vehicle for consumers looking to exercise some control over the volatility he partly blames on speculators in the futures market.

“Speculators have driven the price up with little accountability,” he said. “Thirty times the amount of physical oil that exists is traded every day on the (N.Y. Mercantile) Exchange.”

It also seems to Van Etten, who operates the Van Etten Oil Co. in Monticello, that federal monetary policies have contributed to higher prices. The lower the value of the dollar, the higher the cost of commodities like oil.

Van Etten, whose council represents 19 oil-heat companies and 38 associate-member companies involved in the energy business, said an advantage of oil heat was that the number of dealers kept prices locally competitive.

“Every single member of the Hudson Valley Oil Heat Council will work with the customer,” Van Etten said of monthly budget and price-capping plans. “We’re here for our customers. No matter what the circumstances, there’s almost always a solution.”