Got (natural) gas when it comes to heating your home, heating your water or even drying your clothes?
Be afraid, be very afraid.
The George Baileys of the world as painted by the greenies’ version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” want to save us all from greenhouse gas.
It is for our own good. Perhaps it is.
They do not, however, believe moderation is a virtue.
And that is why the spirit of Mr. Potter is lurking behind every “do good deed” George Bailey that is leading the Green Rush.
It clearly isn’t their intent but actions do have consequences.
The California Resources Board is now toying with implementing a mandate requiring homeowners and businesses alike to resort to extensive electrical retrofits starting in 2030 should their natural gas furnaces breakdown.
This comes after the state has imposed mandates for 100 percent green renewable energy by 2045 as well as no new vehicle sales that emit greenhouse gases starting in 2035.
The State Air Board pronouncement within weeks of electrical vehicle owners being asked not to charge their vehicles between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. because power demand due to insufficient energy reduction from green sources threatened to send California perilously close to rolling blackouts.
Meanwhile, electricity prices accelerate on an annual basis.
Natural gas is not clean burning.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that per one million British thermal units (BTU) of energy created:
*natural gas produces 117 million pounds of CO2
*distillate fuel produces 160 pounds of CO2
*coal produces 200 pounds of CO2.
It is, however, significantly less expensive than electricity whether it qualifies as green or otherwise.
In San Francisco alone, city policy wonks in 2020 put the conversion of 61 percent of the city’s homes that use natural gas to heat, cook, dry clothes, or operate water heaters at $5.9 billion. That is only the cost of switching out appliances and furnaces.
An article by Forbes magazine in July put cost of converting just a 1,000-square-foot home from gas to electric for heating will run at least $5,000. That’s a national average, not a California price which is always much higher.
There is also a horribly high price to pay in terms of annual operational costs between natural gas and electricity.
Research done in a Dec. 16, 2018 for a story on natural gas versus electricity use for furnaces done by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Emily Beach underscores just how devastating that will be on a typical PG&E customer.
Seventy percent of the homes in California are heated by natural gas. That includes 10.8 million in PG&E territory. Roughly half of a typical household energy bill goes to heat and cool a home.
In 2018 it cost $14.02 to generate a million BTUs of heat using natural gas. The equivalent BTU generation in electricity costs $45.07.
Heating a typical home in a year using natural gas is $549 compared to almost $1,800 using electricity.
Keep in mind for the calculations in the Chronicle story the per kilowatt hour rate used was 15 cents — the average at the time for California as opposed to the current PG&E average of 21.7 cents.
That’s over 40 percent higher than in 2018.
Both gas and electrical rates are increasing with each passing year, Natural gas hikes are a drip compared to the soaking delivered annually with electricity rate increases.
While California and its for-profit utilities do not create easy-to-follow charts and post them on the Internet for the public to determine the annual cost of operating electric versus natural gas appliances for obvious reasons as it would trigger a massive public backlash, other states and energy companies operating in them aren’t as reluctant.
Washington Gas Co. that operates on the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard is one of them.
Their 2020 costs for standard natural gas heating for a typical home is $579 a year and for a home with a high efficiency natural gas furnace it is $499 annually.
Compare that to standard electric systems at $1,965 a year, a standard efficiency system with a heat pump at $838, and the highest electric high efficiency system with a heat pump at $787 annually.
It’s almost three times higher to use electricity for a standard water heater as it is $437 on an annual basis versus $165 for natural gas. Tank-less water heaters are $414 for electricity for a year as opposed to $116 for natural gas.
Cooking with gas is $46 a year versus $101 for electricity.
As for drying clothes it is $35 a year for natural gas and $124 a year for electricity.
Why the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) whose founding mission is to look out for the best interests of consumers doesn’t make such comparisons clear is simple. It goes against the prevailing political correct goal of doing away with the use of all fossil fuel in California.
As for PG&E, besides not wanting to provoke the politically correct forces that control Sacramento with green agendas they view as sacraments or run afoul of the CPUC that has become a haven for green policies ahead of consumer interests, the firm profits immensely from people being forced to use more cost electricity.
Remember, they are guaranteed an 11.5 percent return or profit. So if it costs $1,965 a year to heat your house with electricity versus $579 with natural gas, they will pocket 250 percent more in profit.
The Environmental Protection Agency can cite study after study that’s shows natural gas is consistently 30 percent more efficient than electricity, but it doesn’t matter.
That’s because the greenies assume all electricity will be produced using hydro, wind or solar sources.
PG&E now has 50 percent of its electricity portfolio coming from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydro. Of their overall electricity production 93 percent is coming from greenhouse-gas free sources. The overlap reflects electricity production that falls into both sources.
But here’s the rub. The green crowd that is also pure PC wants to end nuclear power. At the same time, periods of drought substantially reduce not just available large hydro power generated by PG&E but also what is available on the western power grid.
Eliminate nuclear power eventually and rely on hydro that is dependent essentially on snowfall, and you will set up a system where power is not only three times more expensive but also unreliable.
Go look at your PG&E bill. Let’s say it is $180 a month. Visualize a future where prices miraculously don’t change in the next 20 years but you will be paying $540 a month more to use energy to do the same amount of heating water, cooking, drying clothes and heating your house.
Now think what paying $540 a month will feel like on a bone chilling late December day when there is a forced “brown out” — PG&E’s less menacing sounding term for a planned shutdown of a system as opposed to a “blackout” caused by an unexpected event. The heater is not working, you can’t dry your clothes nor can you cook, and all you get is cold water from the tap. That’s because less expensive and more efficient natural gas is illegal to use and there isn’t enough high cost electricity being generated to meet demand.
Get ready for a Third World experience at stratospheric California prices brought to you courtesy of the Sacramento greenie cabal.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Courier or 209 Multimedia.