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Lawmakers urge Hochul to halt new natural gas hookups

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  • Staff Report 

Over 50 lawmakers are pressuring Gov. Kathy Hochul to introduce a proposal in the upcoming executive budget to cease new natural gas hookups, pushing New York further away from expanding its gas infrastructure in a bid to achieve its climate targets.

In a letter sent this week, legislators have implored the governor to prioritize the NY Home Energy Affordable Transition (NY HEAT) Act, which seeks to prohibit utility companies from establishing new natural gas connections.

Sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, the measure is seen as crucial to meet the state’s environmental goals.

The proposal has gained traction among lawmakers, particularly in light of Hochul’s endorsement for the construction of all-electric buildings throughout New York by the end of the 2020s. The bill also aims to cap utility bills at 6% of household earnings for lower and moderate-income residents, potentially saving these families around $75 monthly.

Additionally, it seeks to terminate a $200 million annual state subsidy that promotes the extension of gas systems.

However, the proposal faces opposition from utility firms, who express concerns over the bill’s long-term financial implications amid rising costs and inflation. The legislation would redirect an estimated $150 billion over two decades to community electrification initiatives, in funds previously allocated for natural gas infrastructure maintenance.