Massachusetts Towns Trying to Ban Natural Gas for Home Cooking and Heating Face Resistance on All Fronts

Massachusetts Towns Trying to Ban Natural Gas for Home Cooking and Heating Face Resistance on All Fronts

August 2, 2021

We at Power The Future have warned that Green New Deal policies that skyrocket energy costs for average Americans aren’t conducive to the priorities of the masses. Recently, more towns around Boston are debating measures to block or limit the use of gas in new construction. 

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The measures have encountered opposition from some home builders, utilities and residents in a state with cold winters, relatively high housing prices and aging pipeline networks in need of pricey repairs.

The Massachusetts debate encapsulates the challenges many states face in pursuing aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that may directly impact consumers. The cost of fully electrifying buildings varies widely throughout the country and has ignited debates about who should potentially pay more, or change their habits, in the name of climate progress.

Steve McKenna, a Massachusetts real-estate agent, was hired last year to sell a new, all-electric home in Arlington, a town outside of Boston that is considering gas restrictions. The home initially listed for $1.1 million, but many prospective buyers were uncomfortable with the prospect of facing higher electric bills, Mr. McKenna said. It ultimately sold for about $1 million.

“Here in Arlington, you put a house on the market and in six minutes there are 60 offers on the property,” Mr. McKenna said. “But this one took over two months to sell.”

The fear of the higher costs to operate an electric home deters many average Americans who don’t want to see even higher household energy bills. In New England, most homes are heated with fuel oil or natural gas, and gas or propane is used for cooking. All-electric homes would be pricier to run, especially in colder climates that require more powerful heat pumps that can function in subfreezing temperatures. These systems require backup and can be costlier to operate in the cold because they lose efficiency as temperatures drop.

Brian Callahan, an Arlington resident who recently purchased a nearby house to flip and sell, said he wouldn’t consider building it to run entirely on electricity, even though he faces a long wait from the local utility for a new gas hookup. “Natural gas is what sells,” he said. “Unless I’m forced to build an electric house, people don’t want it.”

Elected officials should listen to their constituents when pushing policies that would directly affect their pocketbooks and the ability to keep their homes heated. The reality is renewable energy is expensive and unreliable.