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Opinion

Readers React: Electrify everything? Not if getting rid of natural gas makes California even less affordable

GE Appliances Sold To Electrolux Of Sweden For 3.3 Billion
Gas stoves for sale at an appliance retailer in Chicago in 2014.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

To the editor: Your article on the push to make houses in California have fully electric appliances ignores the one thing: the much higher utility bills that switching from gas to electric causes.

Southern California Edison’s highest rate for homes that use the most electricity is 42 cents per kilowatt-hour, far above the national average of about 12 cents. Granted, Edison’s base rate is much less than 42 cents, but the energy usage covered by that tier is for essentials such as lighting and refrigerators. If we force residents to use only non-gas appliances, their electric bills will likely triple or more.

There are other problems. Adding so much base load will strain Edison’s rickety electric grid. It will also exacerbate their “time of use” problem, as home appliances are used more in the early morning or evening, when the sun isn’t providing any solar power.

In short, pushing residents from gas to electric will make Southern California even less affordable than it already is.

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Robert Helbing, Monrovia

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To the editor: Although this article discusses gas versus electric, the overarching issue of climate change underscores the longstanding need for a national energy policy and plan. This cannot be effectively done by individual states.

In order to make progress on this vitally important issue, we need a plan whereby all stakeholders’ positions are given proper consideration. This must be done with the understanding that there will be long-term winners and losers.

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The key here is to have a tenable plan with a long enough timeline and incentives for all companies, but especially the losers, to be able to pivot to a new, greener model. We must do this in a way that does not threaten their demise, but actually gets them to support such a plan.

Will this be difficult? Yes. Is it achievable with the right leadership? Absolutely.

Joe Grauman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Your article quotes a Sierra Club representative as saying efforts to use natural gas captured from landfills and dairies are a “dead end” and a “dangerous distraction” that will delay efforts to electrify everything.

Here is the really dangerous distraction in fighting climate change: starting a war against gas and gas users that cannot be won. According to a California Building Industry Assn. survey, two-thirds of California voters oppose eliminating natural gas and want to continue using it because it is more affordable than electricity. Only 10% would choose a home with solely electric appliances.

Californians support the fight against climate change, but they want to do it in ways that fit their lifestyles and economic needs. The Sierra Club should take note.

Brad Jensen, Irwindale

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The writer is director of public policy for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership.

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