Unpacking Montgomery County’s Decarbonization Law
Climate change is a problem. Especially with dire warnings of what could happen to the environment if we don’t act now. But Maryland has been seeking climate solutions that could help turn things around. The new Montgomery County building decarbonization law, Bill 13-22, is the latest bold step to held slow climate change.
What Montgomery County Law Is About
Introduced earlier this month, Bill 13-22 builds on the county’s plan for zero greenhouse gas emissions. If passed, the county must adopt all electric building standards by January 1, 2024.
These new building rules would apply to new constructions, renovations, and additions. The rules affect stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, water heaters, and HVAC systems. As a result, the new law would not allow new residential buildings to use natural gas.
However, electric systems might not be suitable for some commercial buildings. Electric systems might not be as safe as natural gas or just not viable for certain uses. In this case, the proposed law exempts these places, such as commercial kitchens.
This bill is the first comprehensive legislation of its kind in Maryland. Backers say it sets a bold stance against climate change.
Law Affects Montgomery County Customers
Because this law affects new construction and major renovations, the upfront cost may cause higher prices for new homes. Retrofitting older homes, however, could be costly. One 2021 study says retrofitting a gas furnace to electric in a Baltimore area home could cost around $25,000. On the other hand, upgrading gas equipment could cost only around $12,000. Either way, landlords would likely pass these costs to their renters.
But, there are several upsides to going all electric. First of all, electric homes produce far less carbon emissions. This means better air quality and healthier living for the whole area. Also, some electric appliances tend to last longer than those that use natural gas. This saves money in the long term. For example, according to this Forbes article, electric water heaters can last two to three years longer than gas water heaters.
And because electricity prices tend to be more stable than natural gas prices, residents may face lower winter heating bills. This is great.
But, it’s not totally clear how the proposed law may affect electricity bills over the long haul. One problem comes from increasing the area’s electric demand further. Pepco may need to build more power lines. As a result, the utility would likely pass the costs onto customers.
Future Of Decarbonization Law In Maryland
Bill 13-22 could be Maryland’s first major climate change law. It could be a strong first step towards reducing fossil fuel use. The law does attempt to address concerns for similar action plans. But time will tell how it will affect things. We will follow this story, because it could affect Maryland electricity customers.
You can keep up with the news that affects your bills a at https://www.mdenergyratings.com. You can also shop for great plans and find ways to save money on lower electricity rates.