State lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul have reached a tentative deal to end gas hookups in new construction in the coming years as part of a broader effort to shift the state away from fossil fuels and to more renewable forms of energy.
The agreement is meant to cushion the effect the measure will have on consumers, with pre-existing gas stoves unaffected. But at the same time, it's a tangible push toward making a transition to cleaner forms of energy, a change that will have a wide-ranging effect on energy policy in New York.
"It’s another one of the pieces. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to climate change," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "But the idea is when you’re building new construction, you shouldn’t be relying on fossil fuels."
The tentative agreement, which is due to be part of the state budget, will end natural gas hookups in the construction of new homes and buildings seven stories or less by the end of 2026. Industrial and commercial buildings of 100,000 square feet or less would be initially exempt.
In 2028, all new construction will be required to no longer have gas hookups.
One thing the deal does not do is ban existing gas appliances like stoves and furnaces. New Yorkers will still be able to replace an old gas stove with a new gas stove.
"Nothing is imminent," Hochul said Tuesday. "People are not giving up their gas stoves."
But Hochul acknowledges there will be a need to address the cost of additional clean energy transitions in the coming years.
"We’ll get there. We’ll make those transitions," Hochul said. "But it can’t be painful for ratepayers or for consumers as they start innovating and working with us and find ways to assist."
Lawmakers like Democratic state Sen. Sean Ryan says New Yorkers will need to help with future energy conversions.
"Trying to convert my house into one that uses less carbon is going to be a tougher job," Ryan said. "And hopefully with the governor’s leadership we can provide programs to make that happen. But we’re not going to run down blindly this path of banning gas appliances."
But there is also a push to give consumers a better understanding of what's happening. Republican Assemblyman Scott Gray says more transparency for consumers is necessary.
"We need to have full disclosure in terms of what the impacts are for ratepayers, for homeowners, for potential homeowners," he said. "We have to have full disclosure in terms of costs and what it’s going to take to implement the climate policy."