Steve Heap

As the California Energy Commission is in the process of forming its next update to building regulations, agencies and activists are dueling over whether the state’s building policies should ban gas hookups in new construction.

Forty cities and counties in the state have banned or discouraged new gas hookups in the past year and a half, with San Jose expanding its ban just last week. Proponents of gas hookup bans cite safety and climate concerns; this has led to pushback from gas utilities, citing consumer choice and the cost of electric power.

At least so far, the California Energy Commission hasn’t given any sign it will include the all-electric requirement sought by activists in its next building code update, which is set to be finalized in July 2021 and take effect in January 2023.

Commission staff are still writing the new rules, with a draft expected early next year. But a coalition of building industry groups suggested in a recent letter that the agency previously agreed not to mandate all-electric homes or make other major changes this code cycle, in exchange for home builders supporting a solar mandate last time around.

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