The climate change warriors in California, led by the Sierra Club, have a wonderful new idea to make Californians suffer. It’s similar to the “impact charge” (tax) that the Burlington City Council wants to impose on natural gas appliance and hearing users.
The Sierra Club has long been pushing cities and the state Energy Commission to ban natural-gas hookups in new buildings. Some three dozen cities have done so. The new idea is to ban the sale of natural gas kitchen stoves, and require homeowners and businesses to take out their natural gas stoves and replace them with electric stoves.
In the Central Valley, new-home buyers would pay $250 more a year to operate an all-electric home—and that’s before a planned 30% increase in electric rates over the next few years. The move to electric appliances would also increase demand for electricity, necessitating more blackouts.
Now the Sierra Club’s partner the state Public Advocates Office is accusing Southern California Gas Company of illegally spending ratepayer dollars on political advocacy, and wants the company fined $379 million. The company acknowledges having spent some ratepayer dollars on public education, which is permitted - regulators allow electric utilities to spend ratepayer dollars to promote electric vehicles.
Two Democratic Assembly members who represent low-income and minority areas are investigating this apparent collusion, declaring that natural gas appliances are favored by customers as a fuel source because of the affordable cost.
The Public Advocates Office shouldn’t be part of the Sierra Club’s campaign to banish fossil fuels, and ratepayers certainly shouldn’t be made to bankroll it.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.