Gas stoves will soon become toast in New York, under a controversial new handshake deal between Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and Albany lawmakers that would make that state the first in the US to ban natural gas.
The pending budget deal mandates all new buildings under seven stories be fully electric by 2026 with larger structures following three years later.
While Hochul hailed the plan as a way to fight climate change, average New Yorkers said it was not so hot of an idea.
“Kathy should mind her own business and get out of our kitchens,” Yas Kantakis, a resident of Sutton Place, told The Post.
“Now she’s in our kitchens first, our bedrooms will be next. Why would somebody come into your private home and tell you what to do? We’re not communist yet – we’re getting there – but it’s just an insult.”
Albany Democrats are expected to approve the electrification push as part of a $229 billion spending deal struck nearly a month past an April 1 deadline.
Critics say the upcoming state ban will drive rising energy costs while depriving many New Yorkers of their right to beloved gas stoves in future homes.
A February Siena College poll found just 39% of registered voters support banning all fossil-fuel burning equipment for new family homes by 2025 and all construction by 2029.
And the construction industry is particularly concerned about how the change, which would exempt restaurants and other commercial establishments, might upend the economy of building just as New York continues recovering from the disruptions of the pandemic.
“People are apt to make choices of whether they are located in New York State or somewhere else and this will provide a further strain on the market until there’s certainty about the availability in the grid as we move forward so that’s a real concern,” Joseph Hogan, vice president of building services at the Associated Contractors of New York State, said.
Hochul notably has kept gas stoves in her own Buffalo home and the Executive Mansion in Albany while pushing for the gas ban in future buildings through the state budget process.
“Everyone knows we’ve seen the effects of climate change, the storms, the hurricanes coming to New York, record snow amounts,” Hochul told reporters Thursday about the “conceptual” agreement.
“Our Budget prioritizes nation-leading climate action that meets this moment with ambition and the commitment it demands.”
Future ban ignites passions about gas stoves
New Yorkers who spoke to The Post on Friday about the future gas ban – which exempts restaurants – expressed mixed feelings about the ability of electric stoves to compete with a fossil-fueled flame.
“I’m very much against the change,” said Ella, an Upper East Side resident who declined to give her full name. “I don’t see the benefit. Electric stoves don’t cook as well.”
“I have electric in Florida and I hate it, you can’t control it,” her neighbor Claire Gozzo, 70, said.
“I want a new stove. I don’t like it. I like gas because you can control it and everything cooks good.”
Traditional coiled stoves might not bring the heat, but Jeannie Rose of Boca Raton, Florida, swears by new electric technology that can challenge gas stoves’ supremacy as the go-to cooking appliance.
“It boils water in like 10 seconds, it’s very good,” she said of her electrical induction stove.
“You can control it like a gas stove [and] You get the benefits of a gas stove without the environmental damage.”
“We’re not losing anything. If it’s better for the environment, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose,” added Vielka Inoa, 19, of Mt. Vernon.
Others had more nuanced thoughts on the matter.
Elena Adams, 34, of Sunnyside, Queens said she needs more information before she is sold on the idea of banning gas stoves while highlighting her broader support for taking action against climate change.
“We have an extreme issue with fossil fuels right now and climate change is something we all need to address and take action, but we need to be educated on the benefits of getting rid of gas stoves,” she said.
That attitude was echoed by Ian Alterman, 64, Upper West Side, who drew a connection between the culture wars battle over gas stoves and a broad problem with political messaging on the political left.
“New Yorkers should educate themselves but the Governor has an obligation to message properly so people understand what’s going on and why – if that’s not happening there’s a problem,” he said.
“It could be a fantastic decision but I just don’t know.”
Hochul, who dropped budget plans to totally ban fossil fuel heating equipment by 2030, has chafed at suggestions her electrification push amounts to a gas stove ban following fierce criticism after she revealed her 2023 legislative priorities in January.
“Nothing is imminent, people are not giving away or giving up their gas stoves,” she told reporters in Albany on April 25.
A climate plan that could drive energy costs up
The pending gas ban was proposed by Hochul per recommendations from the Climate Action Council empowered by a 2019 law passed by Albany Democrats soon after they secured one-party rule in Albany by winning control of the state Senate for the first time in a decade.
But the electrification of new buildings will increase demand for power in the winter because of the use of heat pumps rather than boilers to keep buildings warm, similar to how air conditioning already drives spikes during the summer.
“Why would they load down the grid with more electric? New York has had so many problems over the years with blackouts in the summertime when it’s hot,” Francine Leibman of the Upper East Side said.
This will add to the burdens already imposed by green energy efforts, including a 2022 state law signed by Hochul that will ban the sales of gas automobiles by 2035.
“Now they want to have electric cars — which OK, I’m all for that — but they want to make stoves electric too? How will the grid cope?”
Fossil fuels made up about 43% of the 10,014-megawatt hours produced in New York state in January compared to the 6% coming from renewable sources like wind and solar power that are supposed to replace natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy information Administration.
A New York City ban on gas hook-ups in new buildings took effect earlier this year for smaller buildings with full implementation by 2027.
A 2022 report by the New York Independent System Operation, a not-for-profit that administers state wholesale electricity markets, warns that ditching fossil fuels like natural gas must be coordinated with the implementation of renewable energy sources.
Otherwise, demand will exceed supply in the future with potentially skyrocketing energy prices that could eventually drive people and businesses out of the state.
“The proper way is to make sure we have the technology and resources analyzed before we start shutting down reliable resources that provide heating to families and to small businesses,” Assemblyman Phillip Palmesano (R-Corning), a critic of the gas ban, said.
“I will reiterate if businesses in New York can’t get an affordable and reliable energy supply in New York they’re gonna go someplace else where they can get it,” he added.
The upcoming ban could face legal challenges over whether local and state governments can even ban natural gas hookups following a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which invalidated a Berkeley, Calif. ordinance eliminating “obsolete” gas infrastructure.
But other New Yorkers are keeping it simple while outlining their opposition to a new state budget that would effectively ban gas appliances in future buildings.
“I’m very supportive of addressing climate change,” Ella, the Upper East Side resident, said. “But I doubt electric stoves are the solution.”