New York City Passes Landmark Bill to Ban New Gas Hookups

The City Council passed a bill on Wednesday that will make gas a thing of the past in New York City. It is a historic bill, one that puts the weight of the largest city in the country behind a growing movement to ban gas and electrify everything.

New buildings in New York will no longer be allowed to hook up to gas in the future. All-electric heating, cooking, and hot water systems will be used. There is a timetable for smaller buildings. The ban on structures over seven stories will be in effect by the year 2027, thanks to a concession that developers scored during the bill's negotiations. The bill has various exemptions, including for affordable housing, laundromats, and commercial kitchens.

The bill will have an effect on emissions. Electric alternatives, like heat pumps, would replace gas boilers in city buildings. After clearing several hurdles, developers would be able to use fuels like hydrogen and biomethane for heating. There are also heat pump hot water heaters on the table.

The bill could save 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide by the year 2040, as well as saving ratepayers money that would have been spent on new gas hookups, according to an analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute. The city's carbon emissions are tied to buildings, which means that electrification can help the city meet its climate goals. The indoor air quality will be cleaned up from gas stove pollution.

Ben Furnas, the director of climate and sustainable living for the mayor's office, told the New York Times that it was a historic step forward in reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. We can do it anywhere if we can do it here.

New York, the largest city in the country, is now the leader in banning natural gas hookups. Berkeley, California, was the first place in the world to do it. The New York statehouse has proposed a bill that would require new buildings to be free from fossil fuels by the year 2024. California passed new building codes in August that made it easier to convert buildings to electric.

The utility and fossil fuel lobby threw its weight against the city measure. The American Petroleum Institute was against the bill because they didn't want local utilities to do all the heavy lifting. Exxon ran ads on Facebook in October that claimed that New Yorkers could spend more than $25,600 to replace major appliances if they were forced to go full electric. ConEd, a huge supplier of natural gas in New York, has quietly supported the bill.

Despite the fossil fuel lobby's claims that a ban on gas would increase utility bills, city analyses have found that electric heating systems in new buildings would be competitive cost-wise with gas systems, thanks in large part to increased energy efficiency. Several large housing projects in the city are being built with electric systems. The grid should be able to accommodate electric home heating in New York because the peak electric load is lower in the winter than it is in the summer, according to an analysis by the Urban Green Council.

dirty interests have been able to get into state and city legislatures in other parts of the country to make sure gas stays king, even though they didn't meet with success in New York. At least eight other states considered similar bills this year, as Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arizona, and Oklahoma have banned new natural gas hookups in buildings. The New York bill is important in the race.

A representative from the mayor's office told the New York Times that he would sign the bill.