California Regulators Ban Gas Appliances In San Francisco Bay Area

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March 16, 2023

California regulators voted Wednesday to ban gas furnaces and water heaters in one of the state’s most populated regions, a move that will likely require locals to undergo costly home renovations.

The Bay Area Air Quality District Board, a panel of appointees tasked with curbing pollutants for nine California counties, voted Wednesday to block the installation of gas-powered appliances beginning in 2027. The board acknowledged that homeowners will have to spend thousands of dollars to install electric appliances and that the pivot away from natural gas will increase energy costs.

The ban comes as Democrats nationwide set their sights on natural gas. The Biden administration has proposed a rule change that would effectively ban the sale of half of all gas stoves in the United States, a move Democrats had claimed was not on the table.

The Bay Area ban does not apply to gas stoves, though that offers little relief to residents. The ban will raise the cost of living in the overpriced Bay Area, whose residents are already more likely to move than anyone else in the nation. Locals raised objections to the proposal through public comment letters, with one Palo Alto resident noting that replacing his gas furnace could cost up to $45,000.

One resident worried that apartment buildings in San Francisco and Oakland would not be able to comply with the rule because new electric units will require ground space they don’t have. Others noted the move would increase already-skyrocketing energy costs and housing prices.

Californians have already seen their electricity prices spike nearly 70 percent since 2010, as the state started to break from fossil fuels. California households pay nearly 83 percent more than the average for homes elsewhere in the United States.

Regulators acknowledged in their report that on top of the expense for individual homeowners, the rules could add $243 million to $1 billion in infrastructure spending. The board assured concerned locals that it would keep tabs on the costs imposed by their ban and boasted that the rule could save 37 to 85 lives annually.

The board noted that 404 of 565 public comments supported the rule. However, some 200 of these came from the Sierra Club. Most of the supportive comments reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon were form letters.