Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

October 2022
ELR 10831
Sara Savarani and Danielle Spiegel-Feld

Progressive cities and states have begun enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, one of the leading sources of such emissions in the United States. The same jurisdictions have also generally committed to pursuing decarbonization equitably, without exacerbating the disadvantages faced by historically marginalized communities. Electrification is currently a favored policy for decarbonizing buildings. This Article examines the potential for building electrification to impact tenant energy costs through a case study of New York City. It focuses on whether there are gaps in current protections for low- and moderate-income tenants, and reveals several loopholes that leave tenants of unregulated housing in particular vulnerable to cost increases. At the same time, a survey of industry stakeholders suggests few owners of multifamily buildings are actually likely to electrify their properties under the current policy framework. These findings suggest that creative reforms are needed both to catalyze electrification of New York City’s building stock and to protect its most vulnerable households from cost increases when it occurs.

Sara Savarani is Senior Legal Fellow at the Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy, and Land Use Law at New York University School of Law. Danielle Spiegel-Feld is Executive Director of the Guarini Center.

You must be an ELR-The Environmental Law Reporter subscriber to download the full article.

You are not logged in. To access this content:

Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

SKU: article-52-ELR-10831 Price: $50.00