National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA)

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this article

In 2000, Congress authorized NORA as a means to allow industry – not the government – to support and fund critical initiatives that provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to the American Consumers. As a government sanctioned “check-off” program, $0.002 is collected at the wholesale level on every gallon of heating oil sold.

NORA Reauthorization

  • Thanks to the leadership of bipartisan House and Senate leaders, NORA received a 10-year reauthorization in the 2018 Farm Bill (PL-115-334 §12531). However, due to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring methodology, the legislation requires NORA to place 25 percent of annual fee receipts in an escrow account for 10 years.
  • The actual impact of the unnecessary escrow requirement – NORA funds are sitting in an account during a time of critical importance for climate and the environment.
  • With access to fees collected from private industry, NORA can support the collective effort of identifying renewable fuels and developing more energy efficient technologies.

The NORA Mission

  • As directed by Congress, NORA directs annual fee receipts to support (1) Research, Development and Demonstration; (2) Heating Oil Efficiency and Upgrade Program; (3) Consumer Education, Safety, and Training.
  • NORA’s initiatives have helped to reduce oilheat consumption by 30 percent over the last decade, which amounts to nearly $600 in annual savings per customer. Oilheat is used in 6.3 million homes, serving more than 16 million Americans across the country.
    • Professional education, through the Technician Certification Program, provides continuing education, training and certification for oilheat service technicians.
    • A number of manufacturers have used NORA program funding to develop highly efficient heating equipment, such as condensing boilers and furnaces, variable speed furnaces, variable burners and number of other technologically advanced, highly efficient products.

Continuing NORA’s Success

  • NORA’s annual budget is ~$9 million. The escrow requires NORA to deposit ~$2.25 million per year.
  • The inability to access these funds limits NORA’s ability to provide heating fuel dealers with professional education, energy efficient and safety techniques, and further NORA’s highest priority of producing a clean, environmentally friendly, American grown Bioheat® fuel.

“The Ask” Eliminate the escrow requirement by striking §708 of The National Oilheat Research Alliance Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 6201), which will allow NORA to utilize available funds for continued education, safety, and environmentally sustainable practices.

EMA STAFF CONTACT: Rob Underwood, runderwood@emamerica.org, Austin Harrison, austin.harrison@squirepb.com

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this article

1. Section 708 – Limitation on Obligation of Funds (created in the 2018 Farm Bill to address CBO scoring issues and require escrowing of NORA funds).