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Washington Examiner: Protect low-income and senior households by protecting natural gas

With such uncertainty in our lives today, the cost of energy should not be another problem people have to worry about. While the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout has stricken people throughout the country, it is unfortunate that access to affordable energy is often overlooked. This is an especially troubling dynamic as cold winter weather looms, and the public faces an unprecedented $24 billion in electric and gas debt.

Environmental activists often ignore the human cost of energy inequity in our society as they advocate for bans on the use of natural gas in the home. They also fail to acknowledge the pivotal role that natural gas plays in providing reliable, affordable energy to seniors and low-income communities. Unfortunately, this has led to some communities forcing consumers to convert from natural gas. These mandates to ban gas in favor of an all-electric infrastructure will lead to higher energy costs and increase the financial burden for consumers nationwide without accomplishing their intended goals for the environment.

Policy-driven bans on natural gas will increase the average household energy bill by between $750 and $910 per year. But high energy costs and the lack of energy affordability already affect families across the country. Californians, for example, face some of the highest energy bills in the nation — which is notable, as the majority of natural gas bans have been proposed or enacted in the state. California residents are already required to pay tens of billions of dollars in extra costs related to renewable-energy mandates and transmission-system upgrades before even considering the costs associated with poorly conceived natural gas bans.

Before cities in California fast-track electrification policies, they must consider the economic ramifications of these hastily implemented natural gas bans on low-income families and communities. Not every Californian can afford the cost of these bans when compared to their speculated benefit. The median household income for Californians in places that have banned or restricted natural gas use is 78% higher than the national average and 45% higher than the California median.

The full story can be read here.