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San Francisco area push to ban gas appliances amid blackouts is ‘pure extremist politics,’ CEO says
February 26 2023, 08:00

Homeowners and builders are calling a possible ban on certain gas-powered appliances in the San Francisco Bay Area an extreme move, forcing a region prone to blackouts to rely even further on an over-burdened electrical supply.

"This is just pure extremist politics being taken to the ultimate extremes," said National Association of Home Builders CEO Jerry Howard. "You talk to anybody in California, their electrical grid can't take the current strain in the summer, obviously, and you're going to add to it by making every car electric, every furnace, every air conditioner, every refrigerator, every stove electric?"

"Once you start down this path that gas is bad, it gives momentum to all of these extremists who are choosing to ignore the facts and pursue an agenda that is only going to cause more people to be paying too much for their housing or, God forbid, more homelessness in an area that's already ravaged by homelessness," he continued. 


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is considering two rules that will ban the sale and installation of water heaters, boilers and furnaces that emit nitrogen oxide, which regulators say could cause asthma and other health issues. The move would effectively ban gas-powered versions of those appliances, meaning only those that run on electricity would be permitted.

Last week, over 100,000 customers in the Bay Area lost power as a cold front with high winds caused downed power lines and outages, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Additionally, California can't meet its current demand and imported 30% of its electricity from out-of-state sources in 2021, according to the California Electrical Commission

"This is a state that's electrical grid is already overburdened," Howard told Fox News. "The builders will have to invest in new equipment for the subdivision that's more expensive, again, raising the cost to the consumers." 

California's electrical grid operator last summer warned residents of potential blackouts due to extreme heat and high energy demands. The operator also requested residents not charge their electric vehicles over Labor Day Weekend last year to avoid straining the power supply during a heatwave. 

The Bay Area cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley and Menlo Park have all already enacted legislation that reduces the amount of gas hook-ups, with limited exceptions.


Bay Area residents wrote emails and letters voicing concern and support over the proposals during a public comment period. Over 90 comments were submitted online, with many taking issue with the high-cost consumers would pay to retrofit their homes to accommodate the high-voltage electric appliances once their gas-powered appliances go out.

"I’d have to gut my house and live somewhere else while contractors worked," wrote Jennifer Huber of Contra Costa County. "If I could even find a contractor."

Oakland resident Lawrence Jensen said: "These proposed rule amendments will wreak havoc on the lives of regular people (the wealthy will have no problem adjusting, they never do)."

The cost of equipment and installation for an electric water heater and an electric furnace costs more than gas-powered appliances, Howard said.

Howard told Fox News: "It's $3,000 for the new equipment and then $7,000 if you have to upgrade the panel and everything."

If adopted, the proposals will affect roughly 66% of Bay Area households, according to the Air District

"A lot of the housing consumers in the Bay Area are living month-to-month, hand to mouth," Howard said.

"To impose this kind of cost on them, there has to be a good reason, and I can't find anywhere a reason for this," he continued. "But that's the way things are, I guess, in California."

To watch Howard's full interview, click here.