Southern California Gas Co. on Oct. 3 said about 100 local governments have joined efforts by investor-owned utilities to keep natural gas alive in California's buildings. Meanwhile, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a statement intended to rebut "false and misleading" claims about new programs that would reduce building emissions.
Temecula, San Bernardino and Huntington Beach, among others, joined SoCal Gas in signing resolutions in "response to concerns [that] state policymakers are taking steps to prohibit the use of natural gas in new buildings," SoCal Gas said in its announcement.
But the CPUC said there have been many "false and misleading claims" made by groups advocating for the continued use of natural gas, and that these false claims have caused confusion among elected officials, the media, and the public regarding what actions the CPUC and other state agencies are currently taking to help decarbonize California's buildings.
One of the myths, according to the CPUC, is that building decarbonization and electrification will increase customers' utility bills. The commission said it does not expect the average bill to increase due to its new building-decarbonization programs, which are outlined in SB 1477, passed in 2018.
The City of Berkeley earlier this summer banned natural gas service to its new buildings, while many other California cities, including San Francisco, Santa Rosa, San Jose and Petaluma, are also considering bans.