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Alarm on Potential Northeast Energy Blackouts Due to Diesel Shortages

Today Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Congressman Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), along with Democrat Reps. Jared Golden (ME-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) warned of potential heating issues in the Northeast this winter due to a shortage in heating oil supplies and called on President Biden and the U.S. Department of Energy to work with Congress to proactively address natural gas and diesel supply shortages in the Northeast, rising energy costs and develop a plan to prevent rolling blackouts should the region experience frigid temperatures this winter.”

Widespread reporting indicates that the Northeast may not have sufficient fuel supply in the event of severe cold weather this winter, and if last week’s frigid temperatures and major snowstorms are any indication, it will be a long, cold winter resulting in rolling blackouts across the region, leaving millions of families in the dark and cold,” the Members wrote. “It is imperative that your Administration is working proactively with Congress to ensure that winter electricity reliability in the most densely populated area of the United States is available to meet the power demand necessary to avoid devastating consequences for the people and businesses across the region.”

Currently, heating oil delivery prices to New York are at an all-time high while stockpiles of diesel in the region are at their lowest levels since 1951. Every one in five homes in the Northeast is heated by diesel, and on average, families who use natural gas and diesel oil will see more than a 20 percent increase in costs compared to last year. Additionally, the lack of pipeline infrastructure in the Northeast region, limited shipments of foreign sourced LNG resulting from the war in Ukraine, the closure of coal, oil, and natural gas refineries, and the looming rail strike could lead to dire circumstances in the event of extreme weather.

The Members continued: “We are requesting that your Administration, led by the Secretary of Energy, present Congress with a comprehensive plan so we may ensure our constituents that concrete solutions are in place, and they will not be left in the dark this winter…To be effective, these actions will require complex planning and far-reaching communication efforts involving all relevant federal agencies and state and local parties should they be put into place…At a minimum, we ask that you and the Secretary of Energy ensure any Northeast fuel reserves released remain in the region and not be shipped overseas to the highest bidder. We understand the importance of assisting our allies in Europe; however, we must prioritize the well-being of our constituents given the realities we face at home.”

Download a copy of Malliotakis’ letter HERE.

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