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OPINION: A History of Accidents

News accounts over the years have chronicled many natural gas accidents, including what happened on Sept. 13 in the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts. Thomas J. Tubman, executive director of the American Energy Coalition, delves into the details.   ON SEPT. 13 A SERIES OF NATURAL GAS EXPLOSIONS AND FIRES rocked the Massachusetts communities of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover, forcing residents ...

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Lost and…Found?

Some of you might find the headline on this column strange, but I can assure you that by the end you will have a clear understanding of its meaning.  Let’s look at the “lost” part first. It refers to lost employees, and how or why a fuel dealer loses them. There are many reasons, of course, but I often hear ...

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NEFI’s New Era

Those of you on the fuel oil side of the business probably know the New England Fuel Institute, known by most as “NEFI.” If your company is a heating oil retailer in the Northeast, your company is, or at one time has been, a member of this association, writes columnist Shane Sweet: NEFI has been in the fight for a ...

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Wi-Fi Comes to HVAC

Before I begin to elaborate on this subject, let’s review just what Wi-Fi is. According to PC Magazine’s encyclopedia of technology terms, Wi-Fi is “the standard wireless local area network (WLAN) technology for connecting computers and myriad electronic devices to each other and to the Internet…  Every laptop, tablet and smartphone comes with Wi-Fi…” And now some thermostats come with ...

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We Need to Keep Fighting

Many people think lobbying in Washington, D.C., is unamerican and only protects special interests of big corporations. My experiences tell me just the opposite. Sure, big business wants to protect their interests, but many smaller family-owned businesses need to protect their families, their employees, and their industry. This point was driven home for me at my second visit with lawmakers ...

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On Setting a Price for Your Company

What a seller takes home after the sale is more important than the price the company sells for, writes columnist Steven Abbate: After years of hearing that companies can’t be valued by the gallon, owners are beginning to grasp the idea that companies are valued based on return on investment, usually in the form of a multiple of EBITDA (Earnings ...

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Tune-Up Time

I know the first day of Spring has come and gone, but I’m not sure I believe it because, like many, I still see snow surrounding my house. But that’s life in New England! Many companies are still making deliveries and handling the everyday service issues, while at the same time trying to come up with quotes needed to replace ...

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Competition

It’s said that competition brings out the best—in athletics, in business—in almost any endeavor you can think of. Fuel marketers face intense competition from other energy sources and other technologies, and that’s where the National Oilheat Research Alliance comes in. NORA has released its latest annual report, and it notes that since its authorization by Congress in 2000, it has ...

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The Press Is On

Over the past few years, I have watched new techniques evolve in our profession, along with new equipment that offers higher efficiencies. Think about the controls that help pinpoint service-related issues on most types of heating and cooling equipment. On the A/C side, think of how far this industry has come. An example is mini-splits. Most manufacturers have developed new ...

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Fuel Oil and the Grid

“The health and safety of New England’s 14 million residents and the vibrancy of its economy depend on a reliable power supply, and that requires fuel security—that is, a reliable supply of the various fuels used to generate the region’s electricity.” That’s from a report by ISO New England, operator of the region’s six-state power system. As fuel oil suppliers ...

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