By Samuel Davis Jr., General Manager & CEO of the LANGD
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 919 into law – preventing local governments from banning fuel sources – and marking a major win for consumers and their freedom to choose the energy mix that best suits their lifestyles.
In 2019, the Berkeley, California, City Council passed the nation’s first ban on natural gas hookups for new buildings. Since then, several other U.S. cities have proposed and passed similar bans to move to an all-electric, single source model that eliminates the use of natural gas entirely.
This movement, known as “electrification,” has become a hot topic in our country’s sustainability conversation and will continue to be for quite some time. And, while all of us are working hard toward a clean energy future, eliminating consumers’ choice to the cleanest-burning fossil fuel source available (according to Forbes) cannot be the long-term solution to environmental sustainability.
According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of adults in the United States support expanding the use of natural gas. This is a sign that more states, like Florida, should listen to what consumers want and create laws that protect their choices.
The push toward electrification ignores potential economic ramifications that follow for residents. Natural gas bans can negatively impact low-income families and senior citizens who often live on fixed incomes, who would be burdened with higher energy costs – consumers of natural gas save an average of $800 on energy bills annually, as compared to those who use electricity solely. As a result, House Bill 919 not only protects the power of choice, but also provides more opportunities for financial freedom.
Our nation’s eyes were opened to the importance of a reliable energy source during the Texas Power Crisis earlier this year. Disruptions in electricity can have devastating consequences. This is a major reason why first responders, hospitals and senior living facilities typically rely on the support and security of natural gas generators to keep operations running smoothly. In Florida, this is especially important for our essential businesses during hurricane season.
Thanks to House Bill 919, Florida home and business owners will never have to worry about being forced to settle for a potentially costlier and less resilient source of energy.
Choice is one of the most powerful tools we possess and our team at Lake Apopka Natural Gas District (LANGD) commends the policymakers that take proactive measures to ensure consumers remain in control of their energy choices.
Samuel Davis Jr. is general manager & CEO of Lake Apopka Natural Gas District. He is the immediate past chairman of the American Public Gas Association board of directors and has over 35 years of leadership experience in the public utility sector.