San Francisco space push to ban gasoline home equipment amid blackouts is ‘pure extremist politics,’ CEO says
Homeowners and builders are calling a potential ban on certain gas-powered appliances in the San Francisco Bay Area an extreme move that will force a region prone to blackouts to rely even more on an overburdened power supply.
“This is just pure extremist politics being taken to the furthest extremes,” said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders. “You’re talking to everyone in California, their power grid obviously can’t take the current summer strain, and you’re going to help by making every car electric, every oven, every air conditioner, every refrigerator, every electric stove?”
“Once you get down that path, that gas is bad, it gives impetus to all these extremists who choose to ignore the facts and pursue an agenda that will only lead to more people doing too much for their home or for God ban pay, more homelessness in an area already ravaged by homelessness,” he continued.
CEO SAYS PROPOSAL TO BAN GAS-POWERED APPLIANCES COULD COST CONSUMERS THOUSANDS:
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The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is considering two rules that would ban the sale and installation of water heaters, boilers and furnaces that emit nitrogen oxides, which regulators say could cause asthma and other health problems. The move would effectively ban gas-powered versions of these devices, meaning only those that run on electricity would be allowed.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, over 100,000 customers in the Bay Area lost power last week as a cold front with high winds caused power lines and outages. Additionally, California is unable to meet its current needs, importing 30% of its electricity from nongovernmental sources in 2021, according to the California Electrical Commission.
PG&E workers at the site of a substation where a fire earlier in the day caused a power outage in parts of Oakland, California on Sunday, February 19, 2023. (Carlos Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)
“This is a state whose power grid is already overloaded,” Howard told Fox News. “Builders have to invest in new equipment for the more expensive subdivision, which in turn increases the cost to consumers.”
The California power grid operator warned residents last summer of potential blackouts due to extreme heat and high energy demands. The operator also urged residents not to charge their electric vehicles over Labor Day weekend last year to avoid straining power supplies during a heatwave.
The Bay Area cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley and Menlo Park have all already enacted laws reducing the number of gas connections, with limited exceptions.
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Bay Area residents wrote emails and letters expressing concern and support for the proposals during a public comment period. Over 90 comments were submitted online, with many questioning the expensive consumers they would pay to retrofit their homes to accommodate the high-voltage electrical appliances once their gas-powered appliances ran out.
Berkley, California was the first municipality in the country to enact a ban on new natural gas infrastructure (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“I would have to gut my house and live somewhere else while contractors worked,” wrote Jennifer Huber of Contra Costa County. “If I could even find a contractor.”
Lawrence Jensen of Oakland said: “These proposed rule changes will devastate the lives of ordinary people (the rich will have no problem adapting, they never do).”
The equipment and installation costs for an electric water heater and electric furnace are higher than gas-powered units, Howard said.
Howard told Fox News, “It’s $3,000 for the new gear and then $7,000 if you need to upgrade the panel and everything.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring all new automobiles and passenger vehicles sold in California to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. (Associated Press)
If passed, the proposals will affect about 66% of Bay Area homes, according to the Air District.
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“Many Bay Area house hunters are living month-to-month, hand-to-mouth,” Howard said.
“To charge them that kind of cost there has to be a good reason and I can’t find a reason for it anywhere,” he continued. “But that’s the way things are in California, I guess.”
Click here to watch Howard’s full interview.
Ramiro Vargas contributed to this video.
Jon Michael Raasch is Associate Producer/Writer at Fox News Digital Originals.