TUE Committee to Revisit Local Options for Curbing Gas- and Oil-Heated Buildings

For Immediate Release

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) holds a hearing tomorrow, at 10 a.m., on S.1333 and H.2167, companion bills to allow cities and towns to require that new residential and commercial buildings built within their boundaries be “all-electric.”

The bills’ definition of an all-electric building says it must involve “no natural gas, heating oil or propane plumbing or equipment.”

S.1333 and H.2167 were heard originally by a separate legislative body, the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, which earlier this month discharged the bills to TUE without recommending either approval or rejection.

“To reach our climate goals, we need to begin constructing buildings that do not rely on fossil fuels for heating,” Senator Mike Barrett and Representative Jeff Roy, TUE Co-Chairs, said in a brief statement.  “To this end, the 2021 Climate Act obligates the Baker Administration to promulgate a new ‘municipal opt-in stretch energy code’ that includes a set of ‘net-zero building performance standards.'”

“EEA told the public to expect a draft of the code by last fall.  But something’s happened.  It’s not seen the light of day, and we hear some developers want it weakened.  On the off chance the stretch energy code either does not emerge soon or emerges but departs from legislative intent, we’re looking at contingency steps the Legislature may want to take.  Tomorrow’s hearing is sure to touch on these issues.”

In addition to S.1333 and H.2267, which would mandate an all-electric municipal opt-in process statewide, TUE will hear testimony on five home rule bills — submitted by Acton, Arlington, Brookline, Concord, and Lexington — that seek to do the same for their respective jurisdictions.  Several other late-filed and referred bills will be heard, as well.

Below is the link to the hearing notice and to where a recording of the hearing will be posted afterwards.