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N.Y. STATE CONSUMER PROTECTION BOARD LABELS OIL-HEAT ADVERTISING 'DECEPTIVE AND MISLEADING,' ORDERS RADIO ADS OFF THE AIR

 NEW YORK, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- As a result of a complaint initiated by the Brooklyn Union Gas Company (NYSE: BU) and filed by the American Gas Association on behalf of its over 200 member companies, including Brooklyn Union Gas, the Consumer Protection Board (CPB) has ordered the Metropolitan Energy Council, an association of oil dealers, to cease airing its current New York-area radio ads due to their "deceptive and misleading" content.
 "The oil dealers," said Wally Parker, Brooklyn Union vice president of sales and marketing, today, "have been getting away with inaccurate and unethical advertising for much too long. We are pleased by the action of the CPB since the oil association's advertising shows such contempt for consumers. We challenge the oil dealers to clean up their act and deal honestly with the public."
 Specifically, in a letter to the legal counsel of the Metropolitan Energy Council, the CPB cites two statements included in the oil dealer ads. The first false claim states that "according to the most recent Department of Energy data, the average oil furnace is 10 percent more efficient than the average gas furnace." The second false claim states that "according to the Environmental Protection Agency, no heating equipment is cleaner or less polluting than today's high-efficiency oil heat equipment."
 In the CPB's letter to the oil-dealer association, Laura M. Letson, director of investigations of the Consumer Protection Board, wrote that these claims "are contrary to the positions" of the federal agencies named, and that "both EPA and DOE advised that neither agency endorses heating equipment or a particular method of heating." Further, the letter said that "oil use is not necessarily cheaper or safer for consumers than gas."
 "It is the opinion of the CPB," Ms. Letson adds, "that the ads developed and disseminated by the Council are deceptive and misleading to the public and should promptly be terminated."
 The Metropolitan Energy Council has been making deceptive use of DOE and EPA data that are either outdated or inconclusive or both, according to Brooklyn Union. For example, a 1985 EPA study shows that oil combustion emits more of all other major pollutants that contribute to global warming and to contaminated air and water. Yet in a current MEC ad a supposed oil customer states, "I found that gas heat contributes to global warming and smog," while making no mention of oil heat's more substantial contributions.
 "We urge the advertising media," Mr. Parker said, "to scrutinize carefully any ads they may receive from the Metropolitan Energy Council. The Council has a proven track record of making false claims and deceiving the public."
 -0- 6/21/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Loftus of Brooklyn Union, 718-403-2503/
 (BU)


CO: The Brooklyn Union Gas Company; Metropolitan Energy Council ST: New York IN: UTI ADV SU:

GK-OS -- NY004 -- 3961 06/21/93 10:00 EDT
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Date:Jun 21, 1993
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