Senate Bill 1477 strives to reach near-zero emission homes by making them electric-powered
The California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission have been holding workshops throughout the state to discuss and gather public feedback over the implementation of Senate Bill 1477, which strives to reach near-zero emission homes. The move calls for an electric-only model.
Holding up his electricity and gas bills, Bob Helbing, owner of Monrovia-based Air-tro Inc, outlined the difference in costs between the two utilities at a press conference Wednesday, July 31, at Fairplex. He told officials the mandate under SB 1477 would cause his energy bill to shoot up drastically.
“I can afford that but there are many Californians that can’t,” he added. “The people who sit on the California Public Utilities Commission are supposed to be public servants. Instead, they are putting a huge burden on the backs of Southern Californians.”
If the energy regulations are changed, the average cost for a homeowner, after retrofitting a home for electrical, is about $7,300 and the average annual cost for service would go up $388, said Bill Manis, CEO of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, which co-hosted Wednesday’s press conference.
Duarte City Councilwoman Liz Reilly said hers is one of the first cities in the San Gabriel Valley to pass a resolution opposing SB 1477.
“We need balanced energy solutions that will give communities a choice. I do not believe it is fair and just to make the hardworking people of Duarte, the San Gabriel Valley, or California to take in added costs,” she said.
As vice chairwoman of the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources committee for the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, Reilly said she knows the state and local jurisdictions must act to address climate change.
“But we must do it responsibly and in a way that doesn’t cause additional burden to our communities,” she said. “We must have open to us all available solutions to solve this problem.”
The Southern California Gas Co. said natural gas is what makes its energy service an affordable option to consumers. The gas company has committed to replacing its natural gas supply with 20% renewable gas by 2030, said Sharon Tomkins, vice president of Strategy and Engagement for the gas company, and a Pomona resident.
“What concerns me the most of what is happening at the regulatory commission, is the very small group that are talking. Most of your neighbors don’t know that California will not have the option of renewable gas,” she said.
John Switalski, executive director of Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions, said banning natural and renewable gas would affect 90% of homeowners, renters, thousands of small businesses, and harm manufacturers.
Switalski said Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions is preparing to send a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom urging him to support and promote policies that keep clean energy affordable for everyone, maintain reliable service, and allow consumers to retain control over the type of energy used in their homes and businesses.