Representing tens of thousands of NYers, movement organizations & businesses rally around NY HEAT Act and more measures that will save NYers money while getting off dirty, outdated fracked gas
ALBANY, NY (10/17/2023) (readMedia)– On Monday, October 16th, 219 organizations from across New York State delivered a letter to Governor Hochul asking the Governor to act on a suite of building electrification and equity priorities in her 2024 State of the State and Executive Budget. In the letter, leading climate advocacy, energy policy, environmental and environmental justice, housing, health, consumer protection, faith-based, and building performance organizations and businesses urged Governor Hochul to prioritize lowering energy prices for hard working New Yorkers. The groups called for Governor Hochul to end subsidies for the fracked gas pipeline network that’s driving climate change and harming New Yorkers’ health, reinvest in energy affordability, and hold utilities accountable to reduce their pollution.
Signatories include WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Earthjustice, Environmental Advocates NY, PUSH Buffalo, NY League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, NY Renews, NY-GEO, and more.
The letter reads:
“Our organizations are, however, deeply concerned about the rising cost of energy driven by irresponsible fossil fuel investments, and we call on you to lead New York toward a more affordable energy future. Gas utilities are increasing their profits by saddling New Yorkers with the costs of extending the lifespan of antiquated pipeline infrastructure and dangerous technology, all while making New York more expensive and polluted. As a result, 1.2 million households and 127,000 small businesses are behind on their energy bills. After suffering the hottest summer on record globally, millions of New Yorkers will soon face freezing temperatures without adequate insulation or affordable energy. We need your leadership to implement New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), protect New Yorkers from unnecessary energy costs, and ensure safe, comfortable homes year-round. “
Many provisions in the group’s platform are included in the NY HEAT Act. The priorities include:
- Put money back in New Yorkers’ pockets by ending wasteful spending of customer funds used to subsidize new fracked gas hookups (known as the “100-foot rule”)
- Improve access to cost-saving energy efficiency measures and heat pumps by directing agencies to create a “retrofit readiness” fund to fully achieve the Governor’s Climate Friendly Homes commitment
- Enable utilities to opt for cleaner, more cost-effective options rather than unnecessary gas pipelines by amending the obligation to serve gas so that utilities can pursue neighborhood-scale building decarbonization projects
- Make energy bills affordable and fair for low and middle income New Yorkers by ensuring no residential customer pays more than 6% of their income on energy bills
- Hold gas utilities accountable for reducing climate and air pollution by directing agencies to set and enforce CLCPA-compliant building sector emission limits
Read the full text of the letter below and here, with the full list of signatories
The NY HEAT Act, which now has 74 sponsors in the Assembly and passed in the NYS Senate last session, will stop subsidizing the expansion of the outdated fracked gas system and save the average low or middle income New Yorker up to $75/month on their utility bills. On top of the $75 monthly savings, NY HEAT ends the unfair 100-foot rule, which forces New York families to subsidize new gas hookups to the tune of $200 million every year while accelerating fossil fuel generated climate change that supercharges storms and heat, and turned the sky orange this spring.
In 2022 and 2023, NY HEAT was blocked by campaigns financed by the fossil fuel industry. In 2023, the utility National Fuel Gas used ratepayer money to finance a campaign against building electrification. And in 2022, a campaign financed by the fossil fuel industry that spread disinformation and lies derailed the bill. The industry has set up a front group called New Yorkers for Affordable Energy to preserve the status quo. A report from Little Sis reviewed the organization’s tax filings which show that its mission is “to expand natural gas service.” The group is meant to have the appearance of a grassroots coalition, but it was founded and is run by fossil fuel executives. From the report: “The coalition is backed by a range of fossil fuel companies and lobbying groups, including utility companies National Fuel and National Grid; pipeline companies Williams, Enbridge, and Millennium Pipeline; and the American Petroleum Institute. Other backers include corporate lobbying groups like the Business Council of New York State, regional chambers of commerce like the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and fossil fuel industry trade groups like Independent Power Producers of New York and Energy Coalition New York.”
Nationwide, the fossil fuel industry is still heavily involved in misinformation efforts against necessary legislation like this. The New York Times reported about the Propane Education Research Council sponsoring HGTV star Matt Blashaw. Blashaw calls propane – which contributes to climate change and is the most expensive heating fuel- “an energy source for everyone.”