Energy

Fuel Line Newsletter 3/27/20

Vermont is under a three week shut down. All non-essential business must cease operations. Governor Phil Scott authorized the Stay Home, Stay Safe order on Wednesday night and the directive will be in effect until April 15. Businesses that provide “fuel products and supply” are considered essential. Businesses that are responding to a heat or hot water emergency or supply equipment needed for an emergency are also considered essential. These restrictive measures are in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect the public. Do I need a letter or credential to prove I am essential?  Go to vermontfuel.com/essential for the answer to this and other common questions about the order.

Data released on Thursday show a total of 158 people in Vermont have tested positive for the coronavirus. Nine have died. Click here for the latest information and test results in Vermont.

Vermont typically receives about 500 unemployment claims a week. Over the past seven days, nearly 15,000 Vermonters filed for unemployment. That’s a 3000% increase. More than three million people filed for unemployment benefits in the United States last week. Go to labor.vermont.gov for more information on unemployment insurance.  Click here for COVID-19 guidance and assistance for Vermont businesses.

Congress passed a $2 trillion bill aimed at shoring up the economy and providing direct relief from the coronavirus pandemic. Vermont’s take will be about $2 billion. The money includes $4.1 million for fuel assistance, $20 million for public transportation, $9.6 million for the state’s airports, and $175,000 to support small and medium-sized manufacturers.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) signed by President Trump requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Go to vermontfuel.com/ffcra for answers to common questions about this new federal law.

VFDA is still operating and so is our Split the Ticket Program. You can help give the gift of warmth to a neighbor in need. Go to vermontfuel.com/split for details.

Under Vermont law (CP-111), propane sellers can not deny service to a customer if they have cash for a minimum delivery, even if they have back balance. Propane sellers are required to notify their customer at least 14 days before disconnecting service. They must continue service if the customer offers a reasonable repayment plan. No disconnection can occur if the customer provides the seller with a physician’s certificate, or notice that a certificate will be provided within 7 calendar days. 

If you or one of your employees is in need of child care, click here to fill out an online form or call 1-877-705-9008 to speak to a childcare referral specialist with the Vermont Department of Children and Families.

While some businesses are laying off employees, others need help. We’re working with other business organizations to collect information about companies that are hiring. If you have a job that needs filled, click here to fill out an online form that will get posted to a job board hosted by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus outbreak. While fuel is included in this declaration, it is not clear what is meant by “transporting emergency relief.” Click here to download the declaration. Keep a copy in your driver files and on the road where the hours of service of the driver may be questioned. The waiver is effective through midnight, April 12, 2020. PHMSA has announced it will take no enforcement actions against HAZMAT employers and/or employees that are unable to provide the required “recurrent training” during the COVID-19 pandemic. This does not apply to initial training. Click here for details.

All Vermont DMV in-person transactions have been suspended until further notice. Transactions can still be completed through the mail, electronic methods or over the phone. Vermont has issued a temporary waiver of IRP/IFTA and 72 hour trip permit requirements. Vermont asks that no enforcement action be taken against vehicles with no or expired IRP or IFTA credentials for 90 days from the date of the Emergency Declaration. Any Vermont vehicle registration or drivers license expiring before March 31, 2020 will be valid for an additional 90 days. This includes CDL’s with hazmat endorsements. VFDA has asked for a 90 grace period for oilheat and gas certifications.

While the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) does not have the legal authority to waive the requirement that new customer tanks be inspected before first fill, they do have discretion when it comes to enforcement. Additionally, the DEC has confirmed they will accept “virtual” tank inspections in which the customer provides pictures or video of their tank.

As millions of American work from home, demand destruction in the gasoline market has accelerated. OPIS reports volume losses of up to 40% in some areas of the United States. The rapid deterioration in gasoline demand related to the pandemic is one of the reasons PMAA has asked the Office of Enforcement and Compliance at EPA to  grant a waiver of the federal reid vapor pressure (RVP) requirements. A decision is could come this afternoon.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has determined the Motor Fuel Transportation Infrastructure Assessment Fee (MFTIAF) for gasoline sold in Vermont for the next three months. The MFTIAF in Q2 of 2020 is down slightly. Go to vermontfuel.com/motorfueltax for details.   

Most Vermont towns require an overweight permit for any truck in excess of 24,000 pounds. Fuel trucks can get an exemption for $5 (or $10 for an entire fleet) through an annual permit. These permits must be filed before March 31 every year in every town that requires them.Go to vermontfuel.com/weight for a list of towns that require permitting, where to apply, and to download a permit form. 

Truckers will keep the supply chain intact but need your support. Keep parking facilities open.

Governor Scott announces economic injury disaster loans available to small businesses affected by Covid-19.

Truck drivers, grocery store workers and more unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.

Once required, reusable shopping bags now banned in MA during coronavirus emergency.

Go to vermontfuel.com/crash to read the latest incident report from the Vermont Commerical Vehicle Enforcement Unit. This week’s report includes an accident on Route 7 in Rutland when a driver swerved to avoid a deer and hit a utility pole and a fence. The driver was issued a ticket. No word on what happened to the deer.

Contact VFDA if you would like to add new people to this distribution list or if you no longer wish to receive the Fuel Line.

Copyright 2020 by the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association.  All rights reserved.

Vermont Fuel Dealers Association
P.O. Box 1370
Montpelier, VT 05601-1370
info@vermontfuel.com

Phone: (802) 223-7750
Fax: (802) 419-3313
vermontfuel.com

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