Natural gas-fueled appliances such as water heaters and ranges may eventually become the sign of an older home as policymakers push forward with California’s ambitious plan to decarbonize the state.

The latest sign of this shift is the pressure facing the California Energy Commission to require developers of new apartments and single-family homes to install only electric home-heating systems, water heaters, ovens, dryers and stoves.

As noted in a recent report from the California Air Resources Board, there are two reasons for banning natural gas-powered appliances: It would cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 percent while also reducing indoor air pollution blamed for respiratory problems.

But some question the urgency of the campaign, noting natural gas is generally a less expensive way to power appliances, and that using the fuel in homes can be more reliable than switching to exclusive use of electricity, especially at a time of heightened risk of power shutoffs because of wildfires.

Still, one Valley homebuilding association executive is expecting the policy to be approved. “Given California’s orientation toward clean energy and climate change,” Dave Dmohowski, executive officer of the Homebuilders Association of Kern County said, “I think it’s probably a done deal.”

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6 Responses

  1. Pappy

    I believe this is a short-sighted policy. The beneficiary is the electric utility providers, not consumers or the environment. Natural gas has a minimal carbon footprint. Electric appliances do not have the same longevity. Also, i very much doubt the environmental impact of taking all the gas appliances, throwing them in a landfill, and shipping new appliances from China on a diesel freighter (every few years mind you) is environmentally responsible. Not to mention in our imminent fall power outs, nothing will work. No heat no hot water, nothing. Unless you have a generator that runs off of… Natural gas. This policy is absurd.

    • Ann Harvey

      Natural gas combustion in building appliances accounts for around a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions. The methane leaked at every point in the supply chain from the wells to the appliances is over 85 times as potent a greenhouse gas as is carbon dioxide over the first couple of decades. Most gas appliances depend on electricity to operate, so the advantage for power outages is minimal. The California Energy Commission is considering requiring all electric appliances only for new construction at this point, not requiring existing gas appliances to be tossed.

    • James

      This is not smart. We have summer power outages. Imagine the additional strain on the grid system when its 122 degrees in this desert.

  2. BY

    I’m all for green technology but eliminating your right to choose the way you want to heat your home or cook your food should be available for Californian to decide and not policy makers. The reliability of all electric California is not there yet. There are to many what if’s and jobs to be effective by this move.


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