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How Electricity Failed Us Again

electricity failure new york

In early August, Hurricane Isaias made landfall in North Carolina and continued up the East Coast all the way into Canada. In its wake, almost three million utility customers were left without power in the region.

This once again displayed the vulnerability of New York’s electricity infrastructure. In New York alone, tens of thousands were without power, for days and days.

But the New York State government and some localities continue to push hard for the increased use of electricity—all at the expense of other fuels. This is being done either with expensive and discriminatory incentives or onerous regulations.

It’s as if nobody remembers that the electric infrastructure fails us time and again, causing massive disruption, frustration, and discomfort.

On the other hand, propane provides an emission-reduced energy source that is not a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and which can reliably fuel homes, hot water and even vehicles. There are no blackouts with propane or large service interruptions.

Propane companies came to the rescue of thousands of customers who have propane generators. But most others just had to sit and suffer in 90-degree heat until power was restored.

This is only going to get worse. The next time you read about the state’s plan to electrify everything, please remember this current debacle—as well as many others from past years—and voice your concern.

Electricity—not as clean and efficient as you think*

Electricity is often touted as a “clean” and “efficient” energy source, but that assertion becomes shaky when you take a closer look.

  • The average propane-powered home reduces carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30% compared to all-electric homes.
  • Because propane has such a low carbon content, it produces next to zero greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants.
  • Direct use of propane for space heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 50 percent.
  • Propane is more efficient than electricity when evaluating the total energy consumed (this includes the energy consumed in the extraction, production, processing and transportation of the fuel to the point of use). Based on this analysis, propane is 87% efficient; electricity is 32% efficient.
  • Propane furnaces offer best-in-class efficiency, with AFUE ratings from 90 to 98 percent, and provide comfortable, even, and consistent heat.
  • Propane-powered boilers offer efficiency, space savings, and the versatility to provide space heating, water heating, and even snow melt.
  • Propane water heaters cost 30-60% less to operate than electric water heaters; if you have an electric water heater, you’re paying some of the highest residential electric rates in the country
  • A 50-gallon propane water heater delivers the same amount of hot water as an 80-gallon electric unit. And it heats your water much faster!

Browse our site to learn more about the benefits of propane. If you’re interested in converting your old electric appliances to propane, please reach out to your propane service company for advice.

*Sources: National Propane Gas Association; Propane Education Research Council.