Despite majority support for landmark climate and environmental justice legislation, Assembly leadership has still not brought the NY HEAT Act to a vote; Group called on Assembly to put constituents over utility companies' bottom line and prioritize legislation that would save NYers on their energy bills, end the fracked gas mandate, and fight climate change

ALBANY, NY (05/22/2024) (readMedia)-- Today, more than 150 environmental advocates, residents and state lawmakers rallied at the Capitol to demand the Assembly pass the NY HEAT Act (A4592-B / S2016-B) this session. The bill has majority support in the chamber, and it is a priority for the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian (BPHA) Caucus - but the Assembly has refused to hold a vote on the bill.

The NY HEAT Act will save families from rising energy costs by limiting household utility bills to 6% of a family's income. The bill will also kickstart New York's clean energy transition by ending the gas mandate, also known as the obligation to serve, which forces utilities to expand fracked gas infrastructure and keep households reliant on fossil fuels. Lawmakers can put an end to the outdated, expensive gas system accelerating the effects of climate change - but they must embrace the full bill to do so.

Watch a livestream of the event here.

"It's time for New York to end the gas mandate that is driving skyrocketing energy rates in every corner of our state. Ratepayers are being forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to subsidize an unaffordable status quo that is expensive, old, leaky, cold, and dangerous. NY HEAT's opponents are on the Pay More Plan; they want you to pay more for the same old unaffordable system. NY HEAT is the Pay Less Plan; under NY HEAT you will pay less for a better, more reliable, more affordable system that is able to meet the challenges of the future. Instead of sticking our heads in the sand and wishing away the transition that's already happening, the full NY HEAT Act is the plan we need to protect New York ratepayers, build the unionized decarbonization workforce of the future, and ensure the transition will be orderly, affordable, and equitable for all New Yorkers," said Senator Liz Krueger.

"We must stop building out fossil fuel infrastructure in New York State immediately by passing this important legislation before the end of session. The NY HEAT Act will both help New Yorkers be able to afford their utility bill and help our efforts to combat climate change," said Assemblymember Robert Carroll.

"Passing the NY HEAT Act is not just about fighting climate change; it's about empowering residents to take control of their energy bills. By prioritizing energy affordability and sustainability, lawmakers can pave the way for a future where New Yorkers can save on their monthly utility expenses while collectively combating climate change," said Assemblywoman Taylor Darling.

"Too many Uptown residents are burdened by spending a disproportionately high amount of their income on their energy bills. This is unsustainable and will only get worse as rate hikes continue. The impacts of climate change as a whole are impacting our communities. We see these effects in the heatwaves and flooding in Inwood, Washington Heights, and Marble Hill. The NY HEAT Act will make energy more affordable for our residents and will help New York State achieve its collective environmental goal to move away from the harmful effects of fossil fuels that we have seen in our communities in recent years," said Assemblymember Manny De Los Santos.

"We need to do everything we can to mitigate climate change. Key to this effort is phasing out natural gas infrastructure to make way for more sustainable utilities. In addition to doing this, NY HEAT will cap low-to-middle-income NY residents' energy costs at 6% of their total income. NY HEAT is a win for the environment and a win for New Yorkers. It is imperative that this critical piece of legislation is passed this session" said Assemblymember Harvey Epstein.

"Everything we must do to meet our climate goals and protect the health and wallets of New Yorkers is connected to our outdated Public Service Law and the outrageous subsidies for the aging gas system that we're all forced to pay. There is no path to a sustainable and affordable future without the New York HEAT Act. Enough waiting. We must get this done by the end of the legislative session," said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher.

"In Queens and across our entire state, we see the impacts of climate change grow more severe each year. We have a duty to use every instrument possible to equip people to handle this extreme weather, help them save on the exorbitant utility bills, and ultimately save the lives of New Yorkers.I'm proud to cosponsor the HEAT Act, and I thank my friends, Assemblywoman Fahy and Senator Krueger, and everyone else who has lent their voice to this fight," said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi.

"We missed the opportunity in this year's budget to take significant steps toward moving New York off of fossil fuels, but we have another opportunity to pass this critically important legislation in the final weeks of session, a cornerstone to reaching our climate goals set out in the environmental laws of 2019. The NY HEAT Act eliminates outdated subsidies to the oil and gas industry, paving the way for increased investments in renewable energy infrastructure, all while lowering utility bills. By capping utility bills at 6% of income for low- and middle-income New Yorkers, the NY HEAT Act promotes affordability and equity while facilitating a managed transition away from continued investments in fossil fuel infrastructure. Given the dire state of climate change, we cannot afford inaction or delays. The passage of the NY HEAT Act this year is essential to ensuring a sustainable future for New Yorkers," said Assemblymember Anna Kelles.

"Meeting New York's air quality goals can be accomplished by encouraging the transition to clean energy. The NY HEAT Act provides tools to make these improvements available to New Yorkers. I hope we can enact these policies before the end of the legislative session," said Assemblymember Steve Otis.

"To start the transition away from fossil fuels and toward a clean, all-electric world, we need to stop subsidizing new natural gas hookups and eliminate the 100-foot rule. By doing so, we make homeowners and developers think twice about what technology they should select to heat and cool their new homes, knowing that geothermal and heat pumps will be 30%-50% cheaper to operate," said Assemblymember Al Stirpe.

"The Assembly must pass NY HEAT this session-there's no more time for delay. The 1 in 4 New York residents who suffer from exorbitant energy bills stand to save nearly 50% on their bills each month, while kickstarting the transition toward clean, renewable heating systems in homes and buildings statewide," said Stephan Edel, Executive Director of NY Renews.

"The NY HEAT Act represents a crucial triad in the pursuit of climate justice. With the undeniable and urgent threats posed by climate change, we cannot afford to engage in trivial debates or entertain the interests of fossil fuel corporations. The time for inaction and polite discourse has passed; we must take decisive and immediate steps to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change. Those who fail to support the passage of the NY HEAT Act actively will find themselves on the wrong side of history, and we will no longer hesitate to hold them accountable." said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project.

"New York's Assembly leadership pulled the rug out from under New Yorkers by removing the NY HEAT Act from the final budget. The Assembly must do right by their constituents and pass the standalone bill this session to lower utility bills and support the clean energy transition. By pushing needed climate action later and later, the Assembly is placing the worsening impacts of the climate crisis squarely on the backs of today's youth and environmental justice communities," said Megan Ahearn, NYPIRG Program Director.

"With ardent support from Astoria to Albany, New Yorkers everywhere want cleaner heat and lower bills now. Nonstop hikes in utility bills and a deluge of extreme weather make clear that the status quo is unjust and inadequate. Any further delay in the passage of NY HEAT is climate denial. The New York Assembly must do right by their constituents and pass the full NY HEAT Act this session," said Brynn Fuller-Becker, Communications and Advocacy Manager of New Yorkers for Clean Power.

"With National Grid's $30 a month increase coming, which rises to $64 a month in just 18 months, and tens of thousands of dollars more needed per ratepayer to fix their obsolete fossil gas system, it's time to let go of the past. Long Islanders need #NYHEAT for clean heat and lower bills, now and for a livable future," said George Povall, Executive Director of All Our Energy.

"Governor Hochul and Speaker Heastie are teetering dangerously close to ending this legislative session without a single climate win. Their failure would mean another year of inaction on New Yorkers' rising energy bills and worsening climate chaos. Once again, hundreds of New Yorkers are flooding the Capitol halls demanding passage of the popular NY HEAT Act - Speaker Heastie and Governor Hochul must make it happen," said Laura Shindell, Senior New York Organizer of Food & Water Watch.

"New York cannot make the transition to healthy, cost-effective, and emissions-free buildings if we continue to facilitate and subsidize new fracked gas infrastructure over efficient heat pumps and thermal energy networks. Study after study has shown us that when it comes to addressing the climate crisis, inaction is always the most expensive option. The 2024 legislative session cannot end without the Assembly agreeing to end long-standing fossil fuel entitlements in our Public Service Law. Passing the NY HEAT Act will usher in a new era of innovation, affordability, and climate equity in the building sector," said Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.

"The New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO) represents local businesses across N.Y. working on the front lines of sustainable energy and providing exactly the economic and environmental progress NYS legislators claim they are seeking. So why is the Assembly not anxious to approve the NY HEAT act, which will eliminate barriers and jettison industries like ground source heat pumps, create a well paid workforce of the future, improve air quality and heating/cooling affordability? Maintaining antiquated laws such as the "obligation to serve", as it currently exists, makes no sense if legislators are truly committed to a sustainable future. There isn't a better time for Assemblymembers to join the Senate and Governor in passing the NY HEAT ACT," said John Rath, Director of Operations for NY-GEO.

"New York families are struggling under the weight of skyrocketing energy bills, and the NY HEAT Act offers a lifeline. This legislation will not only provide immediate financial relief by capping utility bills but also ensure a healthier future for our children by ending our dependence on harmful fossil fuels. As mothers, we fight every day for our families' well-being, and we need our lawmakers to do the same by passing the NY HEAT Act. It's time to prioritize the health and economic stability of New York's families over the profits of utility companies," said Bella Cockerell, NY State Manager for Mothers Out Front NY.

Governor Hochul embraced key parts of the NY HEAT Act in her Executive Budget proposal, and the Senate passed the bill twice. Despite the actions of Assembly leadership, the legislation has support from a majority of Assemblymembers. Now, advocates are urging lawmakers to pressure Assembly leadership to pass the full bill during this year's session.

Climate and environmental justice organizations across New York are holding a "Climate Justice Action Week" in Albany. From Monday, May 20th through Wednesday, May 22nd, the Renewable Heat Now campaign, NY Renews coalition, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), and others will host a series of press conferences and lobby visits to demand Governor Hochul and the Assembly pass critical climate legislation including the NY HEAT Act, Just Energy Transition Act, and Climate Change Superfund Act before the end of session. Lawmakers cannot ignore the climate crisis any longer, and their continued refusal to act is a moral, climate, and environmental justice failure.

Attendees at the rally included Renewable Heat Now, NY Renews, Alliance for a Green Economy, All Our Energy, Food & Water Watch, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Mothers Out Front NY, New Yorkers for Clean Power, Sane Energy Project, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Third Act Upstate, and others.

Lawmakers at the event included Assembly Members Chris Burdick, Robert Carroll, Monique Chandler-Waterman, Brian Cunningham, Taylor Darling, Manny de los Santos, Harvey Epstein, Emily Gallagher, Anna Kelles, Dana Levenberg, Steve Otis, Steven Raga, MaryJane Shimsky, Sarahana Shrestha, and Albany County Legislator Merton Simpson.


According to a recent Siena Poll, cost of living is the single most important issue facing most New Yorkers this election season. A previous Siena Poll found that 8 in 10 New Yorkers statewide agree the high cost of living in New York is a major problem, and double-digit rate hikes from ConEd, National Grid, RG&E, NYSEG, National Fuel Gas, Central Hudson, and O&R have only exacerbated the already high cost of living. The NY HEAT Act would address this issue.

According to a statewide report from WIN Climate and NY Renews, the NY HEAT Act would save the 25% of all households that struggle to afford their energy bills an average of $136 each month-cutting bills nearly in half. In Albany County, the NY HEAT Act would save the 19% of energy burdened residents an average of $114 per month.

The NY HEAT Act, which stands for Home Energy Affordable Transition Act, will stop the expansion of the outdated, polluting, climate-wrecking fracked gas system and curtail wasteful investments in it. The bill gets rid of the unfair 100-foot rule, which forces New York families to subsidize new gas hookups to the tune of $200 million every year while accelerating fossil fuel-generated climate change that supercharges storms, floods, and wildfires and drives deadly extreme heat and cold. Most importantly, it amends the obligation to serve fracked gas to allow utilities to provide cheaper and clean heating alternatives at no cost to customers by redirecting the savings from the avoided new gas pipes – a win-win for energy customers and the environment.

About Renewable Heat Now (RHN)

RHN is a network of organizations working to accelerate the adoption of ground-source (geothermal) and air-source heat pumps in New York to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to heat and cool our homes and workplaces. We are committed to environmental justice and a just transition to all-electric homes and buildings.