Many in Chicago are concerned about the rising gas bills as well as the health and environmental harms caused by burning gas to heat our homes and cook our food. Because of these concerns, we teamed up with Northwest Center to host an information and discussion session for community members about these problems and potential solutions.
Abe Scarr, Director of Illinois PIRG, delivered the presentation and led the discussion about how widespread gas affordability issues are and how gas emissions in the home creates health risks. Alderperson Cardona attended the event, as did representatives of Alderpersons Cruz and Villegas.
Attendees shared concerns about affording current gas bills, as well as the upfront cost of transitioning to electric and what that could mean for those left on an increasingly expensive gas system. These concerns underline the critical need for city and state leaders to start planning a managed transition off the gas system.
Individuals can save money and reduce their emissions by replacing their gas appliances with electric versions like heat pumps and induction stoves. Despite a sometimes higher upfront cost for electric appliances, switching to all-electric can save people money long term, sometimes even within the first year. Additionally, rebates and tax credits are available through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act and ComEd’s Smart Assistance Manager program.
The Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance (CABO) would be an important first step in this transition by requiring new buildings be all-electric and committing Chicago to enact a policy to reduce emissions in the city’s largest buildings.