Chicago considers natural gas ban that could 2X heating costs
The Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance to effectively ban natural gas in most new buildings, including gas stoves. Energy providers warn the policy could double heating costs for Chicago homes.
The Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance that would effectively ban the use of natural gas in most new buildings, potentially doubling heating costs.
The Clean and Affordable Buildings ordinance introduced by Ald. Maria Hadden, D-49th Ward, would establish a lower emissions threshold for energy sources in new buildings, essentially prohibiting the future use of natural gas.
Proponents of the ordinance argue the lower threshold plays a key role in slashing emissions and reducing high gas bills in Chicago, while keeping environmental policy in line with other major cities.
Citizens Utility Board Executive Director Sarah Moskowitz said Chicagoans could save between $11,000 and $24,000 over 20 years by making their homes entirely electric.
But Peoples Gas, the natural gas utility serving the city, said making Chicagoans use all-electric heat could cost them double what they would pay for natural gas, and still increase emissions because of limited output from renewables.
Less than 4% of the electricity used in Chicago typically comes from renewable energy, according to the energy provider. They warn the ordinance could “risk reliability for everyone, especially during the coldest days of the year like we are seeing this week.”
Certain buildings and equipment would not be subject to the new limits, including hospitals, research laboratories, backup generators and commercial cooking equipment.
The proposed ordinance would land Chicago among the ranks of New York, Los Angeles and dozens of other small cities that’ve already elected to limit or prevent natural gas use in new buildings.