Dear AOA Members –
I am writing to inform you about an important proceeding underway at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that could impact 90 percent of property owners in Southern California, including apartment owners.
On the heels of soft-story retrofits, new solar requirements, and a proposed new parcel tax in Los Angeles (please vote “NO” on EE!), all of which add up to tens of thousands of dollars in out of pocket costs, apartment owners in Southern California could soon be forced to replace their natural gas appliances with electric only versions.
The push to eliminate natural gas use in buildings is a misguided policy that would drive up energy costs, leave consumers with fewer energy options, and exacerbate the state’s affordable housing crisis. More importantly, it is not the only viable pathway to meet the state’s ambitious environmental goals.
Last year, the California Building Industry Association, published a study that found swapping out natural gas appliances for all electric alternatives would cost the average household in Southern California more than $7,200 to upgrade wiring and electrical panels and to purchase new appliances. Along with higher electricity bills, this policy could increase energy costs up to $877 each year. Across Southern California’s 7 million single-family homes, the total cost increase is $4.3 to $6.1 billion annually.
CBIA also polled voters and found two-thirds oppose eliminating the use of natural gas in California. However, recent comments by CPUC president Michael Picker reveal that state regulators are already in favor of all-electric homes. Following a recent public hearing in Los Angeles, President Picker said, “100% renewable electricity alone isn’t enough to help us meet our GHG goals; we also must electrify our homes & buildings to reduce fossil fuel usage.”
Today, 90 percent of homes in Southern California use natural gas for cooking, heating, and for fireplaces, pool heaters and clothes dryers. However natural gas use in buildings supposedly accounts for only 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
A viable alternative has been proposed that would allow homeowners and renters to keep their natural gas appliances. That plan, which calls for renewable natural gas to replace a portion of the fossil gas homes use today, would reduce emissions by the same amount as building electrification but at half the cost. Moreover, renewable natural gas can be used in all the same appliances that apartment owners already own, so there would be no need for costly replacements or unnecessary construction upgrades.
Since the state’s push for all-electric energy in buildings will drive up costs for apartment owners and further exacerbate the region’s affordable housing crisis, please take the time to write to the California Public Utilities Commission and let them know that apartment owners deserve affordable energy options and not one-size fits all mandates. Monopolies always drive up the cost to consumers and increase donations to politicians!
Address: California Public Utilities Commission
Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Please include the proceeding number: R1901011
Daniel C. Faller