Assembly Members Latrice Walker, Nikki Lucas, and Stefani Zinerman latest to support NY HEAT Act; With support from Governor and NYS Senate, Assembly Speaker Heastie must commit to putting NY HEAT Act in one-house budget and help struggling NYers impacted by climate change and high energy bills

ALBANY, NY (02/15/2024) (readMedia)-- The NY HEAT Act, legislation that would put crucial protections in place to prevent energy price gouging, save struggling New Yorkers up to $75 each month*, and begin New York's transition off the outdated, expensive fracked gas system, has officially gained the support of the majority of NYS Assemblymembers with 76 sponsors.

"New York families are already struggling to get by, and they can't afford to keep paying more to utilities who invest the profits into dirty fossil fuels. The NY HEAT ACT is exactly what's needed to protect our communities - like my constituents in Brooklyn, who are disproportionately burdened by high utility bills and the effects of climate change. NY HEAT has broad support across the Legislature for a reason. Now, let's turn that support into action and deliver relief to New Yorkers," said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.

"Hardworking families throughout East New York, Canarsie and Brownsville are overwhelmed by high energy costs. Utility companies, driven by their selfish desires, are charging even more for the same outdated unhygienic fracked gas that has been hurting our community for years. As lawmakers, it is crucial that we put safety and savings for struggling families before the fossil fuel industry's greed. I am proud to stand with the majority of Assemblymembers and overwhelming number of BPHA Caucus members to support NY HEAT. We have the momentum, and now we have the votes to get it done. Leadership must pass the HEAT Act so we can deliver on a greener, more affordable future," said Assemblywoman Nikki Lucas.

"A critical provision of the NY HEAT Act would ensure that low- to moderate-income households – including the 1.2 million New Yorkers currently struggling to heat their homes this winter – will not be unduly burdened by energy bills exceeding 6 percent of their household income. This reflects the CLCPA mandate to safeguard low-income communities and communities of color, where many are forced to spend disproportionate amounts of their household income on energy," said Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a member organization of the Better Buildings New York Coalition.

"Families across the state are struggling to afford their energy bills, and utility companies are only making it harder by increasing rates to further burden New Yorkers. Lawmakers finally have the chance to provide relief by passing the NY HEAT Act in the budget. The Legislature cannot lose this momentum, and should include the HEAT Act in the one-house budgets to protect New Yorkers before it's too late," said Lisa Marshall, Advocacy and Organizing Director at New Yorkers for Clean Power, a member organization of the Better Buildings New York Coalition.

As lawmakers continue to embrace the NY HEAT Act, the vast majority of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian (BPHA) Legislative Caucus now support the legislation. Assemblymembers Nikki Lucas, Latrice Walker, and Stefani Zinerman, all members of the caucus, have announced their support in recent weeks-meaning 43 BPHA Caucus Assembly Members now support the bill.

Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, who chairs the caucus, spoke about the significance of NY HEAT in an interview with NY Focus last month: "We want to make sure that we are making the transition affordable for marginalized communities, Black and brown communities, who bear the brunt of not only the cost of the climate crisis but also, as we transition, these individuals are paying more and more."

NY HEAT passed the NYS Senate last session but stalled in the Assembly. Last month, Governor Hochul included key provisions of the NY HEAT Act – Home Energy Affordable Transition – in her Executive Budget proposal. Now, lawmakers have an unprecedented opportunity to pass legislation to modernize New York's utility regulations and include crucial language that would save money for New Yorkers struggling to afford their heating bills.

The NY HEAT Act (A4592B / S2016B) will begin implementing the goal to limit the amount families have to pay for energy relative to their income, saving families not part of utility Energy Affordability Programs up to $75 each month. It would also put an end to more than $200 million in subsidies that New Yorkers pay every year to expand the gas system, accelerating fossil fuel-generated climate change that supercharges deadly storms, floods, and extreme heat and cold.


According to a Siena Poll, 8 in 10 New Yorkers across party lines say the high cost of living in New York is a major problem. Higher energy costs, exacerbated by double-digit rate hikes from ConEd, National Grid, NYSEG, RG&E, CenHud, National Fuel Gas, and O&R, only exacerbate the cost of living problem. Utilities are raising energy costs for New Yorkers as follows:

Advocates, lawmakers, and New Yorkers impacted by utility rate increases have spent months advocating for the passage of the HEAT Act. Over the summer, elected officials and advocates participated in the "hot, broke summer ice cream tour," where they handed out free ice cream across New York City and spoke with residents about how the NY HEAT Act would address climate change while reducing energy bills for New Yorkers. In October, 54 State Senators and Assembly members sent a letter to Governor Hochul urging her to include the NY HEAT Act in the FY 2025 state budget. The following month, more than 90 local elected officials from across NYS came together to do the same.

Last month, more than 300 advocates and 30 lawmakers rallied at the New York State Capitol to demand full passage of the NY HEAT Act in this year's final budget.

About Better Buildings New York

BBNY is a network of organizations working for the equitable decarbonization of homes and buildings in New York State. We are committed to environmental justice and a just transition to all-electric homes and buildings.

*$75/month savings calculated using a 9.3% average energy burden in the NYC metro area for low-income families and 200% of the federal poverty level income of $27,180 for a one-person household.