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PG&E First Major Utility to Support State Bans on Natural Gas

June 25, 2020, 7:15 PM

PG&E Corp. has become the first gas and electric investor-owned utility to come out in support of California’s bans on natural gas in future construction projects.

Berkeley, Calif., last July became the first city in the U.S. to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings in an effort to curb fossil fuel emissions. Dozens of other cities in California, and elsewhere, followed.

In response, states more friendly to the gas and oil sector, like Louisiana and Arizona, have swung in the opposite direction, blocking any municipalities from enforcing similar bans.

The oil, gas, and restaurant industries have so far sided with states blocking bans. But PG&E Corp. appears to be an outlier, according to a letter of support it sent the California Energy Commission this week.

“PG&E strongly supports California’s climate and clean air goals,” Robert S. Kenney, the company’s vice president of state and regulatory affairs, wrote in the letter filed in comments to the state’s planned update of building codes.

“With all this in mind, PG&E supports state and local government policies that promote all-electric new construction when it is feasible and cost-effective,” he said.

Kenney said PG&E is also open to using more renewable natural gas and hydrogen in order to reduce carbon emissions from natural gas.

The letter comes as California is revising its building energy efficiency code, with proposed standards set to be adopted next year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexandra Yetter in Washington at ayetter@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at gHenderson@bloombergindustry.com; Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergindustry.com

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