By Mark Valentini, Director of Legislative Affairs
The New York State Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC), and its state and local counterparts across the country oppose efforts to eliminate the use of natural gas. Plumbing and HVAC contractors are environmentalists by trade, ensuring the American people have access to clean water and air through modern, constantly evolving and increasingly efficient plumbing and HVAC technologies. PHCC has been tracking this issue as it evolves across the country. In every case where gas ban policies were introduced or passed at the local and state levels, there has been little regard by policymakers and a lack of consumer awareness for the impact electrification policies will have on the energy grid and capacity, and discussion about the astronomical costs associated with retrofitting a home or commercial building to be all-electric have been dismissive at best.
Even though the ordinance passed late last year by the New York City Council and the current proposal being entertained by the state legislature prohibits natural gas in new construction, it is no secret that the goal is to completely eliminate the use of natural gas. Based on conversations our contractors have had with their customers, there seems to be little consumer awareness in New York and across the country about efforts to eliminate natural gas and more importantly, the costs associated with retrofitting a home to make it all-electric. This includes the costs of upgrading a home’s electric panel, not to mention the cost of replacing appliances, which will cost homeowners tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, we can expect utility costs to increase–costs that are currently offset by the use of natural gas–due to the increase in electricity usage as homes switch to all-electric appliances. The increase in electricity usage will of course put additional strain on the energy grid.
The New York state budget proposal, a must-pass piece of legislation that keeps the Empire State’s government operating through the next fiscal year, is no place for a non-germane amendment that bans fossil fuels, and is yet again an attempt to force these policies under the radar. This is a proposal that needs to be debated on its own and in a transparent manner that ensures all New Yorkers have an opportunity to truly understand the implications of limiting their access to natural gas utilities.
Director of Legislative Affairs , PHCC-National Association