California’s Public Utilities Commission has approved a pilot program to outfit homes with electric powered heating systems and appliances free of charge, according to NRDC’s Merrian Borgeson. The approximately $50 million project will upgrade up to 1,667 San Joaquin Valley homes with energy-efficient features and save participating households about $1,500 in energy costs each year.

The pilot is an important step in advancing the use of clean, electric heating technologies and diminishing California’s dependence on fossil fuels. It will aid low-income homeowners and renters in eleven communities where outmoded home heating systems fueled by propane and wood contribute significantly to choking air pollution. If successful, these pilots will inform the rollout of a larger program to serve 160 additional communities across the San Joaquin Valley.

This initiative will also demonstrate to policymakers in other states and at the federal level how replacing residential appliances reliant on fossil fuels with highly efficient electric systems could reduce carbon pollution nationwide. According to a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute, using clean heating technologies in homes and businesses could cut U.S. carbon pollution by 10 percent.

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