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Law to Ban all Natural Gas in New York

New York City is enacting a new law to ban all natural gas hookups in most new constructions starting at the end of 2023. Once the bill is signed, the measure will go into effect at the end of 2023 for some buildings under seven stories and in 2027 for taller buildings. Hospitals, commercial kitchens, laundromats are exempt from the ban.   Under the new law, construction projects submitted for approvals after 2027 must use electricity for stoves, space heaters and water boilers instead of natural gas. Existing homes are not impacted by this new law. The bill also requires the city to conduct studies on the use of heat pumps technology and the impact of the bill on the city’s electrical grid.

Dec. 15, 2021 – New York City Council member for the 41st district, Alicka Amprt-Samuel speaks at the city hall rally ahead of a council vote on banning natural gas in new buildings

“The bill to ban the use of gas in new buildings will (help) us to transition to a greener future and (reach) carbon neutrality by the year 2050,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, noting “We are in a climate crisis and must take all necessary steps to fight climate change and protect our city.” New York City with a population of about 8.4 million will be the largest American city to enact such a law in all of the United States.

This ban on natural gas is also meant to minimize the risk of gas explosions and reduce exposure to air pollution that poses health risks to residents, particularly low-income communities of colour.

Utility provider, National Grid has strongly opposed the move, arguing that it will cause a spike in demand for electricity and also increase the overall utility bills for residents. The opponents also argue that this will disproportionately impact the low-income residents who now have to pay a higher bills for heating their homes, cooking food and hot water for daily use. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average household in the U.S. Northeast is expected to pay $1,538 to heat their home with electricity compared with gas which is at about $865. The ban will have a limited effect on climate until the city stops getting its electricity from fossil fuels.

New York City’s Electricity utility provider, Con Edison hailed the bill and noted that they are well equipped to handle an increase in electricity demand in their press release. Con Ed argued in the council hearing that the city’s grid is able to handle the biggest strain which comes in summer from the air conditioning and the use of heat pumps would actually reduce demand in summer with the use of heat pumps.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams said through a spokesman that he supports the compromise in delaying the ban three years for larger buildings.


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