City moving to all-electric homes

Aug. 15, 2022

Daily Post Staff Writer

The city of Palo Alto wants homeowners to convert their natural gas stoves and water heaters to electric appliances, so every couple years City Council is passing new rules on home improvement projects in an attempt to slow down climate change.

The latest rules, set to take effect on Jan. 1, would require homeowners to buy new water heaters with a heat pump, not natural gas, when they replace the appliance as part of an add-on or remodel.

New gas hookups would be banned for outdoor equipment such as pools, spas and grills, and new granny units would have to be all=electric. Electric appliances would also be required for new offices, stores and restaurants.

Council is aiming to change the building code by the end of the year. The new rules are called “reach codes” because they go beyond what the state requires.

Homeowners in other cities, such as Los Altos and Menlo Park, have resisted the changes.

In eight years, Palo Alto is aiming to have 95% of water heaters and 70% of space heaters be electric. Residents may have to take out their functioning gas appliances to meet that goal, but council hasn’t decided on taking that big step yet.

There are a couple of large barriers to switching homes and businesses to electric: the cost and the capacity of the city’s grid.

The city hasn’t provided an estimate on how much electrification will cost homeowners, and it varies depending on the building. The projected expense to the city is great.

Upgrading the grid to handle a bigger load would cost between $30-$70 million, a report to the Utilities Advisory Commission said in November 2020.

The city would have to take out 124 miles of decommissioned gas lines, which would cost another $11 million to $54 million over 10 years, the report said.

Utilities workers would spend up to 801,166 hours on the electrical upgrade and gas disconnection, the report said.


  1. What if I want to keep my gas stove and gas heater? Are there waivers or exemptions I can apply for? Or do I have to wait until the election to vote against candidates who want to do this?

    • This only kicks in if you’re doing a “substantial remodel.” So, if your gas stove or gas heater were to give out and you wanted to replace with a similar gas stove or gas heater, that would be fine under these guidelines.

  2. Glad our city council is NOT busy solving basic quality of life breakdowns like rapidly escalating crime in our city. Would be nice if they thought about solving kitchen table issues that affect all residents everyday rather than trying to ‘play Congressman’ and work on global and national issues. Is that too much to ask?

  3. Yes, climate change is real and worrisome. But until governments are going to help residents pay for switching from gas to electric, they have no right to demand we make the change. They tell us that an electric appliance is just a little bit more expensive than gas. But what if you have to rewire, or add more solar panels and your roof is already covered?

  4. Given the state of our power grid, what happens when everyone switches to all-electric homes?
    To quote from Scientific American, May 23, 2022, “For the next five summers, extreme heat and other climate change impacts will threaten the reliability of California’s electrical grid, state officials said Friday. Available electricity supplies might not be able to keep up with demand if heat waves hit, droughts make hydropower less available or wildfires reduce electricity transmission, staff of the California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission advised agency leaders.” said on July 1, 2022 “Looking to avoid power blackouts, California may turn to the one energy source it’s otherwise desperate to get rid of: fossil fuels. … California gets most of its energy from renewable sources during the day, but doesn’t yet have the storage to dispatch enough solar power after the sun goes down”

    • You can replace every gas stove and water heater in the world with electric, and will make no dent in surface temperatures. One volcano eruptions emits more greenhouse gases than all man-made products combined, not that increase in greenhouse gases leads to temperature increases either – there is no correlation between the two.

      So-called “climate change” is as much a scam as Covid.

  5. I’m sure all the campers in the church parking lot will be using all electric heating.

    How many restaurants will be left in Palo Alto when all this goes into place? ZERO…

  6. I’m not worried about this. I think it’s a bad idea to put all of your eggs in one basket and rely entirely on electric power. But I’m not concerned because the City will never get this done. Look how many years it’s taken them to underground utilities?

  7. The prices quoted in the story are teaser prices, intentionally low to get people to say yes. The cost of running these appliances will be much higher and the city will force residents to pay the upgrade costs. The secret to the New Green Deal is to force consumers to cough up their money and give it to green billionaires. There’s no need to do any of this other than to transfer money to billionaires. Natural gas is low polluting, it’s cheap and plentiful. Electric power is scarce, costly and renewables aren’t keeping pace with demand.

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