As Temps Drop and Bills Skyrocket, Lawmakers and Youth Leaders Urge Gov. Hochul to Put NY HEAT in 2025 Budget!

In Albany and NYC, lawmakers, young people, and advocates came together and urged Gov Hochul to keep her promise to fight climate change and prioritize energy affordabilityAs Temps Drop and Bills Skyrocket, Lawmakers and Youth Leaders Urge Gov. Hochul to Put NY HEAT in 2025 Budget!

ALBANY, NY; NEW YORK, NY (11/30/2023) (readMedia)-- This afternoon, New Yorkers across the state took action to demand Governor Hochul put the NY HEAT Act in next year's budget. In New York City, lawmakers gathered with dozens of New Yorkers at City Hall Park for a press conference and rally. At the Capitol in Albany, dozens of young people gathered for a press conference and delivered thousands of signatures to Governor Hochul in support of the NY HEAT Act. Gas and electric utilities are raising rates for New Yorkers across the state up to an additional $70/month. New Yorkers can't keep being forced to dump more and more money into the outdated, unhealthy, and increasingly expensive fracked gas pipeline network that accelerates climate change.

Watch the rally with lawmakers in NYC

Watch youth climate speakers rally in Albany

"New Yorkers are heading into another winter of high gas prices, with utilities raising rates across the state in order to double down on outdated fossil gas infrastructure. It's never been clearer that the status quo is not only unsustainable, it's also unaffordable. Whether it's $200 million per year that ratepayers are forced to pay to subsidize gas expansion, $150 billion ratepayers will have to pay to fix leaky pipes, or the continually skyrocketing price of gas, the status quo is an albatross around New Yorkers' necks. New Yorkers deserve a break - and that's just what NY HEAT will deliver," said Senator Liz Krueger, Senate sponsor of the NY HEAT Act.

"This is important to me because I know first hand how it feels to not only be unable to afford heat or electricity but also because as a child I suffered with lack of heat or electricity due to my mother not having money or getting laid off. As an adult I find it hard to afford it as well as figuring out if I'll be able to heat my home and people in my home," said Maurysha Cuttino, youth climate leader.

Governor Hochul can put the NY HEAT Act in next year's budget and relieve New Yorkers of these skyrocketing bills while fighting climate change.

The NY HEAT Act, which has 75 sponsors in the NYS Assembly and passed the NYS Senate this year, will stop the expansion of fracked gas systems to protect the climate, and reduce future rate increases while limiting energy bills to 6% of household income and saving low and middle-income New Yorkers up to $75/month on their energy bills. The NY HEAT Act also 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 and floods, turns the sky orange, and the air toxic from wildfires, and drives deadly extreme heat and cold. It will also allow utilities to redirect $150 billion that it will cost to complete planned gas pipe replacements over the next 20 years, and instead invest in neighborhood-scale building electrification that will free New Yorkers from volatile price spikes driven by reliance on fossil fuels.

"We need to stop building out fossil fuel infrastructure in New York State, and residents certainly shouldn't be subsidizing this. The NY Heat Act is a common-sense measure that will both help New Yorkers be able to afford their utility bill and help our efforts to combat climate change," said Assemblymember Robert Carroll.

"New Yorkers should not have to continue shouldering the financial burden of an aging, environmentally-damaging energy system," said Assemblymember Grace Lee, member of the Assembly's Environmental Conservation Committee. "I joined my colleagues and advocates to call for the passage of the NY HEAT Act in last year's session, and I am renewing this commitment by calling for it to be included in this year's budget. This bill will cap and stabilize utility prices for New Yorkers, and it will further prepare New York to make the long-overdue switch to a sustainable energy infrastructure. As we enter another winter where exorbitantly high utility bills will force many New Yorkers to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table, it is clear that the time to act is now. "

?"Fossil fuels account for approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. We need to move towards a clean renewable system and ensure that NY passes the NY Heat Act in this year's budget," said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.

"The only way to avert a future of adverse weather, overwhelmed food systems, rising sea levels, and mass extinction is to take bold steps to reduce our carbon footprint. I proudly co-sponsored the NY HEAT Act to put our State on the fast track to a sustainable future. Heating oil accounts for a third of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, and tackling it is essential to reach our goal of a 40% emissions reduction by 2030. Our bill will end subsidies for the perpetual expansion and maintenance of fossil fuel infrastructure, driving the implementation of renewable energy networks and creating thousands of green jobs in the process. The HEAT Act will also cap utility costs for the lowest income New Yorkers, putting money back in their pockets so they can have food on the table. This is a common sense, practical solution to end our reliance on fossil fuels," said Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar.

"Extreme flooding, severe snowstorms, record temperatures and diminished air quality from wildfire smoke have impacted communities across the state this year. It has never been more clear that we are facing a climate emergency," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF - Manhattan), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing. "If we don't take action now to protect against the frightening impacts of climate change and reach a clean energy future, it will only become more difficult for everyday New Yorkers to get by while utility companies rake in larger profits. We must take action by passing the NY HEAT Act in next year's state budget to solidify our state's commitment to clean energy and ensure consumers are protected from higher energy costs and volatile gas prices."

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, "For many years, I have heard from many of my constituents of the unacceptably steep increases in their gas and electric bills. As we prepare for a cold winter, we must act on the rising costs of energy bills. I share the frustration that so many others have expressed and am determined to pass the New York Heat Act and protect New Yorkers from rising energy bills."

State Senator John Liu stated, "As we face the chilling reality of rising utility bills, New Yorkers can no longer afford to be left out in the cold because of our over-reliance on outdated energy infrastructure. Capping utility rates for low-to-moderate income households will ease this significant financial burden on those who need it most and put us on a path toward a greener and more sustainable future for all."

"Climate change isn't coming – it's already here," said NYS Assembly Member Khaleel M. Anderson. "New Yorkers face yet another winter season of surging energy costs as we battle the reoccurrence of extreme weather. The NY HEAT Act offers critical relief and stability for working-class families in coastal communities like Far Rockaway and Rosedale of my district in Southeast Queens. As New York targets our ambitious climate leadership goals, this bill helps us divest from toxic pollutants, fortify our energy infrastructure, prepare our homes, and rein in skyrocketing energy bills. We call on Governor Hochul to sign the NY HEAT Act so that vulnerable New Yorkers have a fair and fighting chance in the face of our climate crisis."

"New York's clean energy future will be at risk if we do not pass the NY HEAT ACT. This bill will reduce our carbon footprint, save money for millions of vulnerable New Yorkers by capping utility rates, and transition away from destructive fossil fuels in an equitable manner. The time for half measures is over. I stand with my colleagues and advocates in supporting the NY Heat Act and for full investment in climate protections," said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

"As energy costs rise and the climate crisis grows ever more urgent, the NY HEAT Act is more critical than ever," said Assembly Member Brian A. Cunningham. "Hard-working families in Central Brooklyn are struggling to pay their heating bills and facing the consequences of climate change. New York must deliver on the goals set out in the CLCPA, and this legislation is a crucial piece of the puzzle. I am proud to join my colleagues and dedicated advocates from across the state in calling on Governor Hochul to include the NY HEAT Act in the coming year's budget."

"The NY HEAT Act makes sense to safeguard our climate for future generations and would also help working class New Yorkers keep their energy costs down. We must not wait longer, as we head into a new legislative session I join my colleagues to urge its inclusion in the state budget and strongly call for its passage this year," said Assemblymember John Zaccaro, 80th Assembly District.

"From suffocating smoky air to dangerous extreme heat and disastrous flooding, climate change defined the last year in New York. Each month, New Yorkers are paying more and more money to expand the fracked gas system driving this crisis. We must get off fossil fuels - not pay more to lock ourselves into this antiquated, dangerous system," said Food & Water Watch Senior NY Organizer Laura Shindell. "Governor Hochul must put the NY HEAT Act in the state budget, to move off fossil fuels and lower energy bills."

"Every New Yorker deserves safe, reliable, affordable home energy that doesn't destroy our environment," said Lisa Marshall, Director of Organizing and Advocacy for New Yorkers for Clean Power. "It's outrageous that hundreds of millions of dollars of precious ratepayer money is still going toward expanding the dirty and dangerous fracked gas system. Governor Hochul has the opportunity to lead us into a clean energy transition while protecting low- and moderate-income households from escalating utility bills."

"The bill ensures that the Public Service Law will provide for the timely and strategic retirement of the gas distribution system in a just and affordable manner as required to meet the climate justice and emission reduction mandates of the CLCPA," said Citizens' Climate Lobby Brooklyn.

Groups sponsoring the events include the Renewable Heat Now, Better Buildings New York Campaigns, Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers for Clean Power, Sane Energy Project, NYPIRG, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York Communities for Change, Forest Hills Green Team, Jewish Climate Action Network NYC, 350Brooklyn, Rise and Resist, RAC-NY, Climate Reality Project New York, Mothers Out Front NY, This is Zero Hour, Sunrise RPI, Fridays for Future NYC, Sixth Street Community Center, Treeage, and Brighton High School Climate Club.

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.

*$75/month savings calculated using 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.