UPDATE: Contra Costa Supervisors Mandate Electricity, Ban Gas In New Construction

January 18, 2022 16:00 pm · 45 comments

New homes and buildings in unincorporated Contra Costa County will be powered by electricity instead of natural gas, the county Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday.

The vote was 4-1, with District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen saying many of her constituents believe the ordinance is an overreach. She also said she has her own concerns.

“I’m concerned about the state of California’s ability to provide sufficient clean electricity that really could power the entire state, as there seems to be this shift,” Andersen said. “And we saw such a loss of hydroelectric power in the drought, in the wake of wildfires, so I really think it’s a little premature to be jumping this far.”

The ordinance will prohibit the installation of natural gas piping in all new residential buildings and hotels, offices, and retail buildings in unincorporated parts of the county.

Board members have pointed out there are new state rules mandating solar power for most new development.

The county ordinance will affect unincorporated areas where the California Energy Commission has accepted studies demonstrating the cost effectiveness of the new requirements.

The 2019 California Energy Code allows local jurisdictions to establish stricter building codes if that local authority finds it necessary because of local climate, geological, topographical, or environmental conditions.

In September 2020, Contra Costa adopted a climate emergency resolution, saying the county should require electricity over gas in new construction. A county staff report in August said, “The built environment is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the county and in California.”

The ordinance won’t apply to future developments already approved before the new law is enacted. The ordinance also won’t prohibit emergency backup power sources, like generators, that run on fossil fuel sources.

The new law would have to be approved by the California Energy Commission before being enacted. Staff recommended the county put the new ordinance in effect July 1.

Ricardoh January 18, 2022 at 4:26 PM

How can supervisor have the power to do something so stupid. Are their homes all electric with no gas?

XJ January 18, 2022 at 9:29 PM

Tyrants gonna tyrant.

The Fearless Spectator January 18, 2022 at 4:53 PM

No disrespect, but these people clearly have no understanding of energy, how it works, or supply and demand.

Bruh January 18, 2022 at 4:55 PM

These little pet projects are cute, however in 20 years (or sooner) when we’re reinstalling gas and actually being smart about our energy (hint it’s not solar energy ya wannabe nerds) we’ll make sure to point out the morons that decided their political aspirations were more important than their duty to serve as a lesson to people that try to put themselves above their duty.

Anon January 18, 2022 at 4:57 PM

Glad to see that they listened to the Voters……oh wait

jjshawk January 18, 2022 at 5:09 PM

I am so tired of these stupid a$$ people who make rules, and I hate the uninformed voters who vote these people into office even more. Electric ranges horrible if you enjoy cooking, gas is far superior, especially if you like cast iron cookware.

Ricardoh January 18, 2022 at 5:25 PM

It is not so much the stupid people as it is a lack of good information about the candidates and poor press coverage. Could also be just not the right people running for office.

The Observer January 18, 2022 at 5:19 PM

It’s not uncommon for the electric power to go out, but I’ve never experienced the gas shutting down. Can you really heat your home in January with just solar panels when PG&E power isn’t available?

Lamorinda Larry January 18, 2022 at 5:46 PM

This is the height of lunacy. Coal fire power plants generate roughly one -third of US electricity. Burning coal emits myriad toxic gases, dangerous particulates and causes acid rain. Natural gas combustion emits close to zero toxic gases and less than half the carbon per kilowatt hour equivalent.

Moreover, natural gas fire power plants generate about one-third of California’s electricity (I presumably much higher on winter nights when wind and solar farms are dormant and families need heat the most). So this policy merely shifts the location of natural gas combustion from home finances to distant power plants.

Finally, electrical heat is far more expensive — and much less reliable— than natural gas. As a result, this REGRESSIVE policy does nothing to improve the ill environment and imposes elevated energy costs on those families least able to afford it.

Martinez Guy January 18, 2022 at 7:19 PM

AMEN!

Cautiously Informed January 18, 2022 at 9:49 PM

L.Larry,
Good point. As physicist Dr. Bill Wattenburg used to say, on his late night Dr. Bill radio show: ‘Coal contains trace amounts of radioactivity, and because so much of it is burned for power generation, it releases far more radioactivity into the environment that nuclear power has or ever will’.

Mike January 18, 2022 at 5:29 PM

At least there is one supervisor who has an idea of how the world works and doesn’t. The wokes all are in lock step as they march us over a cliff. I’m glad I live in a incorporated city and not the county but I’m sure our woke city council members will try to catch up in the race to stupidity.

Phil January 18, 2022 at 5:38 PM

Dumb. Limited successful impact if any. Too many people = resource demand = global warming, climate change, envIronmental degradation. Let’s all ignore the elephant in the room.

The Wizard January 18, 2022 at 6:26 PM

But if there is no gas lines in the neighborhood how can you have a emergency generator run off of natural gas ? Maybe you must have a big propane tank on your property ?

Roz January 19, 2022 at 7:46 AM

@ The Wizard~
Either a propane tank for the generator or solar back up batteries if you have solar is my guess.

To Do List January 18, 2022 at 6:37 PM

I’m not a lawyer but I just don’t see how they can independently and randomly ban a certain energy source that is common and used throughout the country and world without some serious concrete reasons. We are just told no. It’s like being told we can no longer use white as a paint color. Explain how this will make us better off especially when China is building 43
new coal plants according to Time magazine (in a url too long to fit here and no I do not know how to use tinyurl). If this is actually, to use the overused phrase, an existential crisis, how about telling China to cut it out or we will stop all Chinese imports immediately.

Rich January 18, 2022 at 6:49 PM

So with rolling blackouts new homes won’t have heat – brilliant

Cellophane January 18, 2022 at 6:52 PM

Never, never, never put all of your eggs into one basket.

Never put all your money into one investment.

Yet here we have our own government demanding that all new houses have one and only one source for power.

The foolishness of this is astounding.

The electronic grid can’t supply enough power for us today.

When will the new rates and taxes come into play to build a new grid system? What will be used to generate that power?

How much did the current corrupt board members get for passing this?

I’ve heard the reasoning for going all-electric and in my point of view, those reasons are foundless.

Whoe Jim January 18, 2022 at 7:09 PM

Alright already. They want to eliminate natural gas, which has been proven to be a clean burning fuel. Due to fires and overpopulation, reliable electricity is becoming a thing of the past. Now P.G.&E. Is electing to take away the surplus power from the people who have solar panels and also increase the monthly fees to them because their crying for more profit. Then you have the taxpayer Government’s PUC telling you not to burn wood in your fireplace on a cold nite. I think the progressive think tank is telling us if you are cold just rub two sticks together..

Vindex January 18, 2022 at 7:40 PM

Did we expect different? These are the same people that are shutting down restaurants and making sure you have to show your personal medical information to simply go out to eat. Every one of them should be removed from office. Start saving your money and donate money to any SANE person who runs agains them. These Supervisors have to go down as some of the most incompetent politicians in the history of our area. May history remember their foolishness

ClayDen January 18, 2022 at 7:41 PM

This is further proof that this state is run by idiots that are elected by idiots. The only way that this makes any sense is if we build more nuclear power plants. However, there is only one such plant left in this state, Diablo Canyon in Avila Beach. Diablo Canyon produces almost 10% of the electricity now and almost 25% of the carbon-free electricity. Diablo Canyon is being shut down in 2024-2025. The plant produces electricity at a lower cost than most other sources as well.

We could also build more hydroelectric dams, which would also help with our water supply in low rain and snowfall years. Of course the enviro-whackos won’t let either of these solutions happen.

There are also significant negative environmental impacts from solar and wind and the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. This whole problem needs to be looked at using a whole systems approach, rather than by a feel-good emotional approach. This also applies to the ban of ICE powered cars in the near future.

It pains me to say this, but I think it’s time to leave this state for a place where more rational thought prevails.

Randy January 19, 2022 at 7:26 AM

+1 … I’m speechless but you said it well… they’re a bunch of idiots

Regular Guy January 19, 2022 at 8:59 PM

+1. My thoughts, exactly. The ideological and mindless Progressive virtue signaling in the Bay Area is driving me out. Counting the days till my retirement.

double dzzz January 18, 2022 at 7:42 PM

It’s all part of the big socialist government plan here. they will have total power over us if electric is our main source of power. they will shut it off when they want, and so on. gas = freedom.

Frank January 18, 2022 at 7:52 PM

There is currently insufficient electrical power to avoid rolling power outages when the heat is on.
Add thousands of new electric only homes & offices. Add charging of electric cars, of which there will surely be more of. Where is all the additional power going to come from?
Looks as tho it will be decreasing with the near future closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. We have also seen the shut down of a major hydroelectric source due to drought & low reservoir levels.
Wind & solar power are great sources of clean energy, but are not 100% reliably available resources.
Sure, an all electric operation could be a cleaner alternative to natural gas & other fossil fuels, but until the means of generating sufficient electrical power to meet the demand and a means to store any excess for use during peak times of demand is a reality, this VIRTUE SIGNALING by the board foolhardy at best. Let’s keep it real, folks.

ClayDen January 18, 2022 at 9:26 PM

San Onofre shut down in 2013. Diablo Canyon is the last nuclear power plant still operating in California.

Dr Jellyfinger January 18, 2022 at 9:28 PM

Of course you will all have to be on the time of use plan… right?

Rolaids January 19, 2022 at 5:24 AM

I suspect this only applies to the rabble. Wasn’t there a similar ban on fireplaces for new construction? And yet rich people continue to build new houses with MULTIPLE chimneys.

Rolaids January 19, 2022 at 5:38 AM

Rich people, or just normal people with a house, will now all get back up gasoline generators. The poor people, the condo and apartment dwellers, will be the ones suffering when the power goes out, which it will. Those with just a modest ability to adapt, will charge their electric vehicles with gasoline generators and be able to take gasoline fueled hot showers. For the rest, no lights, no heat. Thousands of gasoline generators is probably more polluting than thousands of gas furnaces. This seems like a regressive energy policy

Reasonable January 19, 2022 at 8:49 AM

Can’t to gasoline generators anymore. Newsome signed Assembly Bill 1346 in December. Honda no longer sending generators to California. Try finding one. I think harbor freight still has some. Costco still has a few firmans.

Rolaids January 19, 2022 at 12:51 PM

Good tip. I should dump out the old gas in the one I’ve had for thirty years.

Tired January 19, 2022 at 6:06 AM

California has always had water shortages, ie: droughts – how can this be more efficient? This state is run by incompetent politicians with no historical insight or longterm planning and guidance. Transplants run this state and make changes without proficient analytical research, confirmation and factual data.

cd January 19, 2022 at 7:03 AM

I know their hearts are in the right place. But people who understand the energy situation know that this is not a good decision. Contra costa continues it downfall.

Dr Jellyfinger January 19, 2022 at 8:46 AM

They are morons.

Obamavirus January 19, 2022 at 10:25 AM

Democrats are following the agenda of their donor class and corporations.
Many people just can’t believe that their politicians are completely captured by global financial powers and that the political party works like the mafia.
There is a bit more individual thinking in the Republican Party.
Certainly republicans are not on board with the UN agenda 21 and 2030.
You need to understand that the Democrats are now a different party than in the 1980s. They are working for the autocracy/communism economic model now. Autocracy for small wealthy minority and communism for the rest.

chuckie the troll January 19, 2022 at 7:56 AM

“Burn Baby, burn!

WC---Creeker January 19, 2022 at 9:47 AM

Look for electric bills to skyrocket for all of us, thanks.

Anon January 19, 2022 at 9:58 AM

***I do not speak as a spokesperson or representative of PG&E***

Just an FYI, PG&E is all onboard with this decision as their future goals Are “decarbonization”. Somebody in the meeting I was involved in asked the question: ‘If the customer chooses to use propane if we stop supplying them with natural gas, how is that helping with “decarbonization”?

They had no answer for this, but my assumption will be that it would be dealt with legislatively to prevent propane.

Gittyup January 19, 2022 at 8:38 PM

Now, if they could just figure out a way to stop volcanos from erupting, worldwide they’d have this “carbonization” thing under control. Maybe a giant plug immediately dropped into the erupting, fiery core. The eruption near Tonga just wiped out any decrease in carbon emission that could possibly be gained in the future from a decision to ban natural gas this way. They are basically running in place, thinking their feel good decisions are going to make any difference.

American Citizen January 19, 2022 at 10:33 AM

And as electricity is generated by turbines fired by hydrocarbons, the stupidity with our politicians is strong.

Dude1 January 19, 2022 at 11:05 AM

To all above… did you actually think as a 1 party state you will have any choices in your future, whether building, driving, food sources, energy… the state of California is a dictatorship run by progressive idealogs. We have elections for no other reason than the state constitution requires them. We have no say in anything from the city level all the way to the governor’s mansion. I hate to be a party pooper but the only thing to do is vote with your feet like so many others. California’s population has decreased so much we lost a seat in Congress. So you have 2 choices, live here and be miserable or leave and take your tax dollars with you. Once single payer is in place and there is NOTHING that will stop it (1 party rule) expect the largest tax increase in California history. No natural gas is small potatoes.

Glen223 January 19, 2022 at 12:15 PM

It’s time to kick out ALL incumbent politicians. NONE of them are looking out for you.

NONE!!!!

Andy January 19, 2022 at 11:24 AM

It’s time to unelect a bunch of supervisors. They are clearly out of touch with reality and don’t even attempt to represent the average citizen.

Dorothy January 19, 2022 at 12:04 PM

While various cities and counties start mandating electric only in homes the PG&E lap dog is going to allow PG & E to charge people with solar on the roof and solar batteries in their garage to charge more for electricity and try to take away any benefit getting solar in the first place – such as lower electric bills payable to PG&E.

Anon January 19, 2022 at 4:32 PM

They can’t charge (punish) you for putting energy back up to the GRID if you don’t.
Keep your meter from moving backwards and there’s nothing they can do. Send your excess power to your batteries.

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