Jamie Densmore, owner of Densmore Oil Company in Mystic, Connecticut
Jamie Densmore, owner of Densmore Oil Company in Mystic, says she "believes in" the work she does because home heating oil in Connecticut is much cleaner and greener, made with ultra low sulfur fuel and mixed with a renewable fuel made from discarded food waste. CEMA

By Shelly Sindland
Chief Communications Officer

Connecticut Energy Marketers Association

Jamie Densmore is the third generation owner of Densmore Oil Company in Mystic, Connecticut. Her cozy, salmon pink office building has been a fixture in town for more than 60 years, and is located kitty corner to Mystic Pizza, that nostalgic spot which inspired the iconic 1988 Julia Robert’s film.

Not exactly the picture many people might imagine when they think of a home heating oil dealer but the truth remains that people like Densmore are literally changing the face of the industry. More women now than ever have taken over the reigns of their family businesses, and are helping to move it in a new direction.

“The industry has changed a lot,” Densmore said. “I mean, 70 years ago, do you think there would be a woman running an oil company? Probably not, but I see more and more females at our industry summit! It’s great to see that we are becoming a more diverse industry, not just with our fuel but with the people running our companies.”

Jamie Densmore, owner of Densmore Oil Company in Mystic, Connecticut

Where the industry is going is very much on track with my school background and what I believe in.

Jamie Densmore, owner of Densmore Oil Company in Mystic

Densmore, a young mother with a 14-month-old toddler at home, also holds two degrees: a bachelor’s in biological science and a master’s degree in public administration.

“Where this industry is going is very much on track with my school background and what I believe in,” Densmore said. “We offer a cleaner, greener fuel and our customers love it!”

In fact, the home heating oil industry in Connecticut has made significant strides during the past decade to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Heating oil in Connecticut is now an ultra low sulfur fuel mixed with biodiesel, a renewable green fuel made from discarded restaurant oil and soybean oil.  The brand name is called Bioheat® fuel, and it’s better for the environment than natural gas!

“It’s made right here in The United States which is big for us,” Densmore said. “All of our heating systems are also made in U.S.A., which is important to us because it helps keep good paying jobs here at home. It also reduces our dependency on foreign oil.”

In fact, the largest biodiesel manufacturer on the East Coast is located in Connecticut on New Haven’s Harbor, creating jobs and fueling the local economy.

The narrative is that fossil fuels are just this horrible thing and the piece that’s missing from that is that the industry in Connecticut —and New England for that matter—has really taken it upon ourselves to move to a greener, cleaner fuel.

Kate Childs, president of Tuxis-Ohr’s Fuel in Meriden

“The narrative is that fossil fuels are just this horrible thing and the piece that’s missing from that is that the industry in Connecticut—and New England for that matter—has really taken it upon ourselves to move to a greener, cleaner fuel,” said Kate Childs, with Tuxis-Ohr’s fuel based in Meriden.

“The sulfur content has basically been removed from the product. We are mixing it regularly with biodiesel, and I believe the future is bright for us given the fact that we will be adding more and more biodiesel to the fuel in the coming years and maybe one day, not too far away, our fuel will be 100 percent renewable!”

That’s why Childs, Densmore, and other home heating oil retailers in Connecticut, are urging state regulators NOT to leave them out of the state’s new energy plan that looks to convert homes and office buildings away from fossil fuels and to electric heat as a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“We don’t want to have people with no heat in the middle of winter because their electricity went out.  Our grid can’t handle everything. Hooking up more homes and cars to an already overburdened regional grid will only lead to more problems, and I fear put people in danger,” Childs said.

Not only that, the state’s new plan to electrify everything would make utilities mega, monstrous, omnipotent monopolies.

I think that customers should be able to do their own research and pick the fuel that’s best for their household and family.

Sue Santopietro, president of Baribault Fuel in Oakville

“I think it’s best if consumers have a choice on how they want to heat their homes,” said Sue Santopietro with Baribault fuel in Oakville. “If people want electric heat, they should be able to get electric heat. If people want heating oil, propane or natural gas, they should be able to get that too. The more choices that consumers have the better it is for prices and services. People should have the freedom to choose what is best for their family and their households.” 

The key to lowering greenhouse gas emissions is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The only way to keep people safe and warm during harsh winter months is through fuel diversity. All green and renewable fuels deserve a seat at the table in this proposed plan. The women urge regulators not to put all of our energy eggs into one basket—a move they say would be risky, costly and greatly endanger our state’s energy future, economy and lives.