By Sean Cota, President & CEO, NEFI
By now, you’ve probably seen the news that NEFI has officially changed its full name to the National Energy & Fuels Institute.
Before diving any further into the broader implications of this transition, I want to first assure all of NEFI’s members, supporters, colleagues and friends in the Pine Tree State that our organization will always represent the interests of the Northeast’s essential Main Street liquid heating fuel businesses, and that, to this end, we will continue to work closely with our partners in the Maine Energy Marketers Association. I have a special affinity for Maine. Few know that I was born here when my Dad was stationed at Brunswick Naval Air Station, and my Mom’s family is from Waterville where I’ve spent much time.
With this issue coming out around the start of Maine’s heating season — and with this season expected to present a number of unprecedented and daunting challenges, from a likely COVID-19 resurgence to continued encroachments from competing energy providers — I want to take this opportunity to touch on a few of the things NEFI is doing to help Mainers meet these challenges head-on so they can succeed now and in the future.
As home to one of the industry’s best member-based technical education centers, Maine knows the value training provides our family businesses. At NEFI, our role is different. We aim to complement MTEC by focusing on management training that enables profitable change for our industry’s changing future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear how important it is for essential businesses like yours to be able to adapt on the fly. With this in mind, the platform technologies that allow for such adaptations can no longer be viewed as a luxury — they are as necessary as the fuel in our tankers and the drivers in our fleets. Recognizing this reality, NEFI is proud to offer Maine’s liquid heating fuel industry professionals free, unlimited access to a series of informative and engaging live webinars taking place September 22-23 as part of our Virtual HEAT Show. Please take a look at the schedule at VirtualHEATShow.com/webinars, where you can also sign up for any of these technical and business classes (after registering at VirtualHEATShow.com/register).
Also on the topics of COIVD-19 and education, I want to draw your attention to the NEFI Financial Resource Center (nefi.com/financial-resources-center), which grew out of this crisis and continues to provide invaluable information for all liquid heating fuel businesses. According to our research, at least 27 heating oil and propane companies in Maine have received Paycheck Protection Program loans to date. New information about these loans, loan forgiveness, and other pandemic-related financial assistance programs is being posted to the NEFI Financial Resources Center regularly, so I strongly encourage you to bookmark this page and keep an eye out for updates.
Lastly on the point of education, NEFI continues to provide important information on regulatory compliance matters via email alerts, webinars and other communications channels. In fact, we have dedicated an entire webinar track of the Virtual HEAT Show to these topics, all of which can have significant impact on your business.
Advocacy and Our Future
Perhaps the most anticipated aspect of the Virtual HEAT Show is the follow-up to last year’s Providence Resolution, at which liquid heating fuel dealers from across the Northeast committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Reaching this ambitious goal demands a comprehensive strategy; hence at 1PM on September 23, NEFI will proudly host Industry Summit II: Implementing the Road to Net-Zero.
Here, liquid heating fuel industry leaders will present the “Net-Zero 2050 Roadmap,” a strategic action plan that outlines a sustainable and profitable path forward for the next generation of our essential Main Street family businesses. Just as the Providence Resolution has been critical to our industry’s successful advocacy efforts since last September, the Net-Zero 2050 Roadmap will empower our associations and businesses to “walk the walk” on our collective vision for the future.
This brings us back to NEFI’s new name, the National Energy & Fuels Institute. NEFI has always represented the liquid heating fuel industry at the national level. Now, we have the name and reach to ensure our message is heard at the highest levels of government. We now stand positioned to provide a single, unified, national voice for the liquid heating fuel industry. These efforts are geared solely toward supporting businesses like yours, and are impossible without the support of businesses like yours, so please join us September 23 for Industry Summit II: Implementing the Road to Net-Zero and visit nefi.com/join or nefi.com/donate to help contribute to our cause. We are at the precipice of exciting change. Help us to help you build sustainable success for our industry’s next generation.