City considering ban of natural gas appliances in existing homes

Daily Post Staff Writer

Menlo Park officials are considering whether to require residents to remove natural gas appliances from their homes, such as stoves, heaters and dryers, as a way of stopping climate change. But the ban could increase utility bills.

One of the goals in the city’s Climate Action Plan is to “explore policy/program options to convert 95% of existing buildings to all-electric by 2030.”

The City Council in April asked the city Environmental Quality Commission to look at a cost-effectiveness analysis and come up with a recommendation on how city officials would implement such a plan.

Based on a study prepared by the city’s Sustainability office and city consultant TRC Inc., adding an electric water heater can either save $15 a year or cost an extra $80 every year, depending on the type of heater a resident buys. An electric space heater can cost an extra $60 annually, the report says.

However, that cost could be reduced if the city offers incentives to residents.

Other cities have paid for such incentives by charging a fee on new developments. Others have paid for incentives by raising the utilities tax.

Loans to homeowners

The report also suggests the city consider partnering with an outside agency to provide loans to people who want to electrify their homes but can’t afford to.

Commissioner Tom Kabat said at a meeting of the environmental commission on Wednesday (July 21) that changing to electric appliances could be the cheapest way to fight climate change in the long run.

Commissioner Josie Gaillard said it has cost the state some $1 billion to fight wildfires and suggested that in the next 30 years, the cost could jump to $10 billion, or more. She also pointed out that the wildfires have pushed up some people’s insurance costs.

Other ideas presented to the commission on ways to get people to switch to electric appliances included a marketing and education campaign, having electric appliances installed when modifications were being made to a home and when a home is sold.

However, TRC representative Farhad Faramand warned the commission that some of the ways could cause renters to get evicted for landlords to upgrade the appliances.


The switch to all-electric appliances will also cost some businesses more, but the business portion of the report is not completed and did not have the same amount of detail as the housing portion.

But according to a preliminary report from TRC, depending on the type of appliances that warehouses, retail stores and quick service restaurants get, electric appliances could cost less than gas.

The commission did not make any recommendations to council as to how it should get people to switch to electric appliances and will further discuss the options at its Aug. 18 meeting.

The City Council will review the cost-effectiveness plan and the commission’s recommendations at an Aug. 31 study session.


  1. What next? Will the government come into my home and tell me I’m doing too many loads of laundry or taking long showers too often? Tell me to cut down on salt and sugar? This is way out of line!

    Many home-owners are older and living on a fixed income. Their wealth is in their house. It would be hugely expensive to put in new electric lines and buy new appliances, not to mention the cost of labor.

    Stop virtue-signalling, Menlo Park.

  2. Stunning to read that the MPCC has advanced the very sensible concern for a clean environment – expressed in the earliest days of the original Earth Day – all the way up to dictatorial proclamations. Really, that’s what this is. It requires homeowners to – once again – pay up for Council fantasies. It’s not a stretch that government is getting out of the control of the citizens. Global warming will be much better helped by technological improvements, by encouraging developing nations (like China) to work clean, and to by things like increasing work from home reducing traffic – and not by a handful of global activists dictating earth-saving mandates in tiny Menlo Park. If they can rip out your stove, what else will they do? Time to say enough

  3. My house is built on a concrete slab. It would necessitate removing my cabinets and countertops to get to the wall. I have natural stone countertops and if one part breaks, it would require replacing them all, since the pattern continues, and that could cost $30,000. And that’s just to get to the wall, and if the cabinets didn’t get damaged. Getting from there to the garage with a breaker panel that’s full, and getting it rewired wouldn’t be cheap either. I’d be better off not having a cooktop at all, and just use a backyard barbeque grill.

    I’m not in Menlo Park so I’m not saying that make excuses, but I am retired and not ready to remodel a four year old kitchen, that I considered changing to electric back then but it was too much of an ordeal even with remodeling, since I would have needed to have torn up the rest of the house.

    Having people replace water heaters or furnaces or even cooktops when there’s a remodel should be worth considering, if the electrical work is reasonable. I know what my gas bill is in the summer when it’s just water heating and cooking, and it’s minuscule compared to the cost of heating. And the gas used by the cooktop is negligible compared to the rest.

    I’d definitely consider replacing the furnaces or water heater with electric when they need replacing. But spending 20 times more to replace something that uses 100 times less gas is absurd.

  4. Woke virtue signalling makes me want to commit violence. You want to make a dent in climate? Go talk to China and India. After that, I’ll get rid of my gas if they do first. Otherwise, just keep pounding your pud, ’cause that’s all this is.

Comments are closed.