SLO trying to phase out natural gas

August 13, 2019

The San Luis Obispo City Council is considering adopting an ordinance that would amend the building code to ban the fitting of new residential and commercial buildings with natural gas-powered appliances. [Cal Coast Times]

A proposed ordinance, which is expected to come before the city council in September, would not require the removal of natural gas appliances from existing buildings. Also, developers could still construct new buildings that would use natural gas appliances if they opt to pay in-lieu fees or retrofit existing buildings.

SLO’s proposed building code amendments are part of a city initiative to become carbon-neutral by 2035. The city cites the California Energy Commission in identifying electrification as the lowest risk pathway to decarbonization.

City staff also claim it is cheaper to construct new buildings and to operate them if they contain electric-powered appliances. Likewise, staffers say the carbon-free buildings would be healthier and safer for occupants.

But, critics say use of natural gas appliances generates cheaper utility bills and forced electrification would raise the cost of living in SLO.

On behalf of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association, attorney Charles Bell sent a letter to the SLO City Council urging it to reject the proposed ordinance. Bell’s letter states the ordinance would lead to the elimination of the use of natural gas for heating in both residential and non-residential commercial buildings, as well as apartments and hotels.

“This amendment is not required by state law, has not been evaluated in terms of its cost impact on already-impacted new housing construction or on remodeled construction, and is very likely to increase the cost of housing which the city acknowledges has become unaffordable to local families and workers. Neither the efficacy nor the energy consumption impacts of the proposal has been evaluated,” according to the letter. “The proposal appears to be another attempt by the city of San Luis Obispo to ‘burnish’ its extreme environmental credentials at the expense of residents and taxpayers.”

If approved, the ordinance is expected to take effect in 2020.


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c.d.cox

Vellum to der people’s democratic republik comradski.


derasmus

I live in one of those SLO “Medallion “ homes that were promoted in the 60’s. Spent a good deal of time and money converting it to natural gas. Heating with that radiant electrical in the ceiling was unbelievably inefficient, and still is. “Heidi and the hipsters” need a basic course in the laws of thermodynamics. She and her minions are embarking on a course to ruin for town. Keith I hope you run again…!


TKG

This woman wants all of us to live the way SHE wants us to live, not the way WE want to live. Just went into Idler’s to buy a new dishwasher and saw all those beautiful gas stoves they won’t be able to sell. She’s the leader of the SLO wrecking crew, taking apart our once great town piece by piece. Sad. Maddening. Insane!


kayaknut

What about the fact that we are constantly told our electric grid is near collapse from decades of no maintenance and improvements. We are also told our electrical infrastructure is ripe for hacking and shutting it down?


Humperdinck

So, Heidi and Council are basically making these moral decisions: GAS IS BAD, ELECTRICITY IS GOOD, and EMF IS OK. Or, was the EMF scare was just another convenient Domesday scenario that was needed for an agenda?


I’m guessing EMF is no longer a concern if you put solar panels on your house and if you eliminate choice by banning natural gas in favor 60 cycles per second close proximity electric space heating. That type heating puts resistive wire elements (like your electric blanket) in your ceiling and floors. You know, those things we did in the 1970’s in all electric homes, because of the promised cheap Washington Hydro and Nuke power. Well electricity was 4 cents kilowatt hour then and it’s like 12 to 22 cents a kilowatt hour today depending on your usage tier. A collateral effect question to ask would there be more house fires due to this type of electric element heating?


What’s interesting and a telltale is that the ordinance would provide a WORK-AROUND if the builder pays extra fees or retrofits. So, it’s really about how SLO can virtue signal while making some money. Unfortunately, Harmon mirroring Berkeley’s virtue signaling is not what the public wants.


Heidi and council owes SLO a feasibility study. I like to use the acronym of FACES:

Feasibility, Acceptability, Cost, Effectiveness and Sustainability. Usually, the judges make intervention choices are given more than one choice and they get to numerically rate each of the choices by the following criteria:

Feasibility: Sure, ram it down their throats, make them pay for WorK-AROUNDs and put more burden on the electric system. This does show favoritism to one semi-bankrupt utility over a Gas Company that will be shunned with no capital improvement to depreciated in their rate base (how they make $).

Acceptability: Flunks badly. Less choice and married to one source of heat that is more prone to outages. And PG&E and future rates are in flux.

Cost: New layer of bureaucracy. Cost of retrofitting streets and buildings with gas when policy proves worthless or causes more harm than good. And again, rates are in flux.

Effectiveness: This is the big one! Monitoring for actual improvement. You must have baseline data and constantly improve your monitoring and buy latest monitoring equipment to prove you have met your goals.

Sustainability: What do they impose next when they have failed to meet their goals even if they spent millions to monitor for improvement? Guess-timating and Spit-balling potential numbers don’t cut it, IMO. Basically, what are the bulging mushroom effects when you sit on this balloon?


shelworth

In 5-10 years we will be seeing articles about $1500+ electric bills. Did you know that 35% of all US electricity is generated by Natural Gas?


Boldguy

Go Heidi Go!!!

Such a little drop in the bucket when compared to your big big agenda!!!

Let’s outlaw all fossil fueled cars in the city of SLO, ride share and transit lot’s on the outskirts of town, bicycle racks and electric buses, electric Uber for those in a hurry:)


obispan

NONE of the people on the City Council know how energy production and distribution works. Natural gas can be utilized in a home at near 100% efficiency. Natural and coal plants plants producing electricity are 35-50% efficient depending on their age, so that double or more the carbon emissions. The City would have you believe they are buying only the “good electrons”. PG&E buys all the good electrons they can, and then buys fossil fuel generated electricity when necessary. PG&E pushed the all-electric “Medallion Home” in the 60’s saying that with the advent of large-scale nuclear power electricity would be “too cheap to meter”. Didn’t happen. Utilizing clean energy to replace fossil fuel plants requires storage; $15,000 dollars for a battery that can run your dryer for an hour (remember the KWh advertised needs to be divided by 2.5 if you want the battery to last as it needs to cycle between 30 and 70%), if it was a sunny day. A week of rain and we probably wouldn’t have the electricity production capacity to keep up. They are rolling out policy before technology. The more electric appliances the more carbon emissions, period. BTW, why not require electric water heaters and space heating if electricity is the way to go? Electricity is over 5x as expensive as gas. Electricity storage is not yet practical. And why does the City have a “sustainability manager” for a function that we pay hundreds of millions for at the State level. The City of SLO constitutes little more than a jobs program for certain people.