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EPA proposes 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards
Farm and Dairy
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency's Renewable Fuel Standard program. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. The RFS program requires that specified volumes of renewable fuel be used as transportation fuel, home heating oil and/or jet fuel each year.
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Maine DEP ends extra surcharge on oil imports
The Associated Press via NECN
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has ended an extra surcharge on gasoline and other petroleum products, saving consumers an estimated $5.5 million this year. The DEP says improved fiscal management allowed it to stop a 20-cent-per-barrel surcharge on gasoline imported into Maine and a 10-cent surcharge on other petroleum products including home heating oil.
New app makes home energy audits faster and cheaper
Even though most homeowners are still warming up to the idea that a home energy audit can save them a bundle of cash, it has become obvious that the process itself is far from efficient. Data collected must be entered into a laptop or recorded on paper for later analysis. This is cumbersome, time consuming and not conducive to sharing information with the homeowner as its collected. Apogee, makers of energy analysis software, developed a mobile app that it claims will revolutionize the way field auditors evaluate home energy use by making audits more efficient and intuitive.
The countdown has begun
It is time to prepare for our 2013 Convention and Trade Show, to be held May 19-23 in Hershey, Pa. Registration will open soon. Convention details have been updated. You can view our wide variety of classes online. These classes are all application based. Attendees can view the outlines online and pick the sessions they wish to attend and earn needed CEUs.
For those that want to get into the NATE or NORA certification programs, here is your chance. Reviews and testing for NORA and NATE Oil Hydronics certification will be available Tuesday, May 21. John Levey will offer a Tank certification class on Wednesday, May 22, following the show.
There are management classes and a host of classes that are tied with our new Home Comfort Specialist Academy. So take your time exploring the choices and sign up when registration opens!
In the mail
Our 2013 brochure for the convention will be mailed in a week or so. In the meantime you can get a jump on your hotel reservation by contacting the Hershey Lodge directly at 1-800-HERSHEY (437-7439). Be sure to reference our Group Code No. 271999.
Oil Heat Cares
Oil Heat Cares
Last week, we mentioned that there has been flood of Oil Heat Cares projects. All are worthy candidates that have gone through challenges in life and, fortunately, there are people within our industry willing to help give them comfort. Two things are contributing to the need: Sandy and the Cold Winter of 2013. Some of these folks skated by for up to two years without heat.
The Board of OHC wants to thank all who have helped in any way — by providing free or discounted products, spearheaded projects or participated in our annual Care to Ride Event. Remember, that will be held on Monday, May 20!
Mid-Coast heating assistance high on demand, low on supply
Heating assistance programs are struggling to meet the demand from households that need help. Maria Hinteregger, who as associate director of community impact for United Way of Mid Coast Maine helps compile a list of heating assistance programs in the Mid-Coast area, called the situation "dire."
CITGO renews heating oil donations
The Wall Street Journal
Venezuelan-owned refiner CITGO recently renewed its program to donate heating oil to low-income families in several U.S. states. The program was originally a response to a fuel price hike in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. CITGO has donated more than $400 million worth of heating oil to the program, managed by Citizens Energy Corporation, a non-governmental organization. CITGO said more than 1.7 million people have benefited from the program all over the U.S. This year more than 100,000 families will benefit, according to CITGO.
Trending: Consumers want energy information online
The trend of consumers wanting to access energy-related information online is growing, according to a consumer survey conducted by energy management solutions provider Comverge. The survey of 1,034 energy users indicates that consumers want to simplify how they engage with their energy usage. More than half (57 percent) of respondents said that they would prefer to have a centralized repository to manage all their utility driven energy consumption — even more so with the younger generation (69 percent).
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5 tips for preparing your small business's taxes
Business 2 Community
At the beginning of each year, businesses begin to look at what they spent the year before, gather up receipts, approve budgets for the year and start to get ready to file their taxes. Prepping your small business' taxes early can be a long drawn-out process but gathering and preparing everything early on ensures that you and your employees are taken care of completely before April 15.
Alternative energy plans for Department of Defense go into overdrive
Hydrogen Fuel News
The U.S. military has become one of the world's most aggressive supporters of alternative energy. The Department of Defense considers energy as a matter of national security and has been laboring to help the country break free from its reliance on oil and coal. To this end, the agency, through its various military branches, has been investing heavily in alternative energy projects of all kinds, with a keen interest in biofuels, solar energy and hydrogen fuel cells.
Are banks losing interest in small business?
Small Business Trends
If you think that banks are less interested in lending to small business than they used to be, you're right. In 2012, only 29 percent of all non-farm, non-residential, loans were less than $1 million, a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation proxy for small business lending. Data from the FDIC, which keeps records of bank loans to small businesses, shows that small loans (less than $1 million) to business have been a decreasing fraction of all bank loans for the past decade and a half.
Maryland offshore wind plan likely to pass, but will it be built?
The Washington Post
After years of trying, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is poised to win approval from state lawmakers for a field of towering windmills in the Atlantic Ocean. But the tortured process of garnering support has left O'Malley with a project so small — one able to generate just half the energy of a single power plant — that developers and banks probably won't take the financial risk, experts predict.
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