The average Long Island resident heating their home with gas...

The average Long Island resident heating their home with gas will pay $300 more than last year. Credit: Newsday/Mark Harrington

Heating costs are soaring. If you are stuck paying an oil company or National Grid for your heat and hot water, be prepared to hand over a lot more this winter. The average Long Island resident heating their home with gas will pay $300 more than last year — more for homes on heating oil.

These skyrocketing costs lay bare the stark reality of New York’s reliance on fossil fuels: We are paying a huge bill for the dirty energy driving climate destruction. The All-Electric Building Act can help.

The All-Electric Building Act bans fossil fuel heating and hot water systems in new construction statewide starting in 2024, freeing occupants of new housing from costly oil and gas bills. New larger buildings would have until 2027 to make the shift. Existing homes would not be covered by the law’s requirements.

The All-Electric Building Act is a win for our wallets. National Grid users can expect to pay 29% more this winter to heat their homes and hot water. The increase in cost is even worse for oil — heating oil costs are up 35% from last year. In November, they hit a whopping $6 per gallon. A new analysis by think tank Win Climate found that the All-Electric Building Act would bring average cost savings of over $1,000 to residents of new electric homes on Long Island every year compared to homes relying on fossil fuels.

The legislation would keep money out of polluters’ pockets. As fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron post record profits, raking in over $130 billion combined last year, industry profiteering has led to congressional hearings and an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James. By banning fossil fuels in new construction, the All-Electric Building Act would help make sure our monthly energy bills don’t pad profiteers’ bottom line.

The legislation would make a major dent in New York’s climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Almost one-third of our state’s climate pollution comes from the use of fossil fuels in buildings. It doesn’t have to be this way. Long Island is ideally situated to take advantage of wind and solar energy. The Long Island Power Authority has been working to shift our electricity supply away from fossil fuels, planning a future of renewable energy and battery storage, a transition we expect would be hastened if LIPA becomes a truly public system. Long Island’s future building stock needs to follow suit and shift away from fossil fuels. With less than a decade left to avert the worst of climate change, we simply can’t keep constructing new buildings reliant on polluting oil and gas.

Long Island, our wallets and our climate need the statewide All-Electric Building Act. Despite dozens of co-sponsors in the State Legislature, it died in the Assembly under Speaker Carl Heastie’s watch last year. This year must be different, and Long Island’s legislative delegation must take up the cause.

Reducing onerous energy bills for New Yorkers must be a priority for the State Legislature this year. Gov. Kathy Hochul's budget proposal last week included a ban on fossil fuels in new buildings, albeit with a slower timeline than is feasible and necessary. It is imperative that Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Heastie include the All-Electric Building Act in the state budget to expedite the passage of this important bill.

This guest essay reflects the view of Eric Weltman, senior New York organizer with the national advocacy group Food & Water Watch, and Fred Harrison, volunteer leader with Food & Water Watch based in Merrick.

This guest essay reflects the views of Eric Weltman, senior New York organizer with the national advocacy group Food & Water Watch, and Fred Harrison, volunteer leader with Food & Water Watch based in Merrick.

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