Emily McGee, Director – Communications, HPBA
It’s extremely cold out there for most of North America. To make this more dangerous, many parts of the country and millions of households are also coping with power outages. It is our hope that those who are affected by this terrible combination have the comfort of a fireplace or some other back-up source of heating available to them.
When we talk about the importance of energy choice and a dependable back-up to electricity, a winter storm is always top of our mind. People go to extremes to stay warm when the power is out and so many of those activities can be deadly. Don’t turn on your gas cook stop and leave it on to try to warm the house. Don’t bring your grill inside. Don’t bring your firepit or firetable inside. Don’t burn anything extra in your gas fireplace. And don’t burn anything in your woodburning fireplace except seasoned wood.
This week is showing everyone that a fireplace in your home can be a lifesaver, no matter where you live. This week is also showing one of the main weaknesses in going all-electric.
The electrical grid in North America is an extraordinary technological achievement, but it has its drawbacks – some are built into it and some are unavoidable. Simply put, overhanging wires can be brought down by ice or wind. Electrical generating stations, whether fired by renewable sources or natural gas or nuclear, are susceptible to outages from any number of sources. That electricity we depend on can be interrupted with little notice. Fortunately, our infrastructure is designed to handle many of these threats and our engineers are able to make timely fixes, but outages do occur and can leave you and your family in the cold – often in life-threatening circumstances when the power or heat is needed most.
Going all electric in your community means that you don’t have options when the winter storm takes out your power. It means that you are captive to the repair schedule of dedicated, but overworked technicians.
In communities throughout North America, town and city councils are passing energy codes and regulations banning the inclusion of natural gas in new buildings in the interest of climate change. There is no doubt that reducing carbon emissions is an important goal, but over the past decades, natural gas and propane have proven to be important parts of that goal. Shortsighted bans in these communities are not based on all the facts and take away your choice to have a convenient gas fireplace in your home.
Have you been coping with this storm in front of your fireplace? We hope you have that choice and we want everyone to have that same choice. Learn more about how natural gas and propane provide energy choice when you need it most.