Massachusetts Municipalities Seek to Ban New Natural Gas Connections

Last month, Brookline approved legislation banning natural gas hookups for new buildings, giving the idea for other cities to consider this. Recently, the towns of Cambridge, Newton, Lexington, Arlington, and 12 others have held meetings to discuss implementation of the same.

Proponents for the initiative argue that a shift in technology is needed at the face of the contribution natural gas has to global warming, and to begin a transition to new technologies. Instances of these kinds of restrictions first appeared in Berkeley, California, which is being used as a case to promote the cause. The biggest opponents to restricting new natural gas lines are Eversource and National Grid, who argue substituting gas appliances for electric ones will push peak electricity demand, requiring natural gas plants to fire up, ultimately raising prices for consumers. In other words, the ban would have effects opposite to the intended ones. Additionally, construction prices would substantially increase, passing on the cost to the already high-priced Massachusetts housing market.