Richmond Wants to Kill Its Gas Utility, Also Ending Service in Henrico, Chesterfield

Pending Termination

by Steve Haner

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the (Richmond) Council hereby commits to working with the City’s Administration on an equitable plan to phase out reliance on gas and shift to accelerated investment in City-owned renewable energy and hereby recognizes that the continued operation of the City’s gas utility is an obstacle to the City’s goal of Net-Zero emissions in accordance Resolution No. 2020-R024, adopted June 8, 2020.

Translation:  The Richmond Gas Works, a municipal owned public service utility, is targeted for closure.   Council sees its continued operation as “an obstacle.”  The 117,600 customers (as of 2018) will need to run their lives and businesses without natural gas.  Those customers are not confined to the city itself but are also located in Henrico and Chesterfield counties. 

Disclosure:  The neighborhood where Jim Bacon and I live, miles from the city line, is served by Richmond Gas Works.  Just last year at some expense I converted a traditional 80 gallon electric water heater to a tankless gas unit.  The goal was to save energy (it did), but if this happens, I’m back to the less efficient approach and my least favorite power company digs deeper into my pocket.

Every single candidate for the legislature in Richmond, Henrico or Chesterfield needs to tell the voters whether they will let this stand or oppose this effort to kill natural gas options.  It will end up before the General Assembly or the State Corporation Commission or the courts or all three.  The resolution itself contemplates needing legislation to accomplish its goals.   The city probably has a legal (and enforceable) obligation to continue service under current law.

Here is a map of the current service territory. The city is probably less than half the full area.  Think of all the industries around the airport and south along Interstate 95.  Be prepared to say goodbye to some.

Incumbent candidates who voted for the Virginia Clean Economy Act and the similar bills in 2020 and 2021 should further explain if they understood this to be the ultimate goal.  When you talk about an economy that is 100 percent carbon free, in all aspects, that basically means no natural gas.  Period.

So, I ask my delegate, Democrat Schuyler VanValkenburg, will you (did you) vote to force me to convert my furnace and hot water heater to gas at the whim of Richmond City Council?  Will you do the same to thousands upon thousands of your constituents, residential and business?  I ask the same of your challenger, Republican Chris Holmes.

The council resolution (full text here) was adopted during the September 13 council meeting, having been introduced by Second District Councilwoman Katherine Jordan back in July.  The online meeting notes do not reflect a roll call vote, and the agenda item may have been adopted in a bloc with others.   The only place I saw the action reported was on Twitter, with green activists all excited.  They are dead serious about this happening.

The city gas company serves homes, small businesses, and even huge industrial operations.  Those big firms with an industrial process tied to natural gas will simply consider relocating.  Restaurants will need to dump gas ovens.  Residential customers, of course, will need to convert to electric heat pumps and stoves at a substantial costs already outlined in previous Bacon’s Rebellion post.

That earlier post and the report it was based on were dismissed by some as not credible.  The Richmond City Council dream is also not credible, but that doesn’t mean the city will not try.

According to a 2018 city annual report on its utility operations, the gas operation had gross revenue of about $155 million in 2018 and gross operating profits of $20 million.  After debt payments and other adjustments, the net profit was $10 million.  On top of that, of course, the city also collects consumer use taxes directly from the consumers of the gas. It makes money both ways.

The financial benefits to the city would largely continue, of course, if the intent is to simply let a private entity buy the assets (actual capital value unknown) and operate as public service companies do elsewhere in Virginia.  But that is not the intent.  That does not advance the city’s and the state’s goal of net zero or zero emissions.

I have no idea what bonds or other debt stands behind the gas system.  Another provision of the resolution calls for the city to stop dealing with any banks that invest in fossil fuels in any way.  In other words, to stop working with banks investing in the City of Richmond itself, since it owns and profits off a gas company.  There is a chicken and egg problem.  (And maybe a problem for the city’s bond rating.)

As to the idea of city-owned renewable energy assets to serve those customers, again, not possible under current law.  The existing electricity monopoly belongs to Dominion Energy Virginia, and it is already planning more wind and solar than we will ever use.

There is a check box on the resolution form noting whether or not a fiscal impact statement was prepared.  You get one guess which of the two boxes was checked, yes or no.

These are not serious people.  They should not be allowed to handle money or manage large complex operations.  Even if this particular effort fails, the gas operation now need to move to safer private hands.  But this outcome was predictable and predicted, and other progressive-dominated local governments share exactly the same goals.  This is your seven a.m. wake up call (most of you having ignored the wake ups at six and six thirty.)

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70 responses to “Richmond Wants to Kill Its Gas Utility, Also Ending Service in Henrico, Chesterfield”

  1. I have all natural gas utilities and I am looking to convert one of my vehicles to nat gas because it is cheap, clean, plentiful and it works when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow.

    1. how_it_works Avatar

      The cost of the compressor needed for that is not cheap (if you want to fill it off your natural gas service at your house) unless you can (maybe) find a used one for a good price. They’re not very common.

    2. how_it_works Avatar

      The cost of the compressor needed for that is not cheap (if you want to fill it off your natural gas service at your house) unless you can (maybe) find a used one for a good price. They’re not very common.

      1. I never thought of that, I was going to go to the local supplier to fill up, but having an auto fueling pump at my house would be convenient.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    This is once area where the so-called peddle meets the metal… i.e. natural gas in urbanized areas is the heating fuel of choice especially for low income folks.

    But once again, I question the idea of zero in any kind of near term “complete cut-off” basis.

    You said you converted to an on-demand. We did to some years ago and the amount of gas used in our gas was significantly less. It more than pays for the extra cost of the unit – but over time. Using gas or any “fuel” to heat hot water and keep it hot 24/7 rather than on-demand is horrendously wasteful – just a terrible habit that has been fostered over time by the low cost of conventional fossil fuels.

    one way to look at this is the same way we look at other energy usage including vehicles. Can we make significant cutbacks and still maintain our current quality of life including the cost of energy?

    In the next 20-30 years, can we make substantial cuts to our energy consumption?

    do bears do it in the woods?

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      You can question it, but they just voted for it. Yep, with the tankless heater there was no energy wasted keeping 80 gallons hot during my recent trip. I did the right thing, for the right reasons, and these idiots prefer to virtue signal and make this worse! Worse! (I don’t think legally they can, frankly. A step that might stand scrutiny would be to end all new hookups.) I looked at at tankless electric but would have needed a big upgrade in my service to handle the load.

    2. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      You can question it, but they just voted for it. Yep, with the tankless heater there was no energy wasted keeping 80 gallons hot during my recent trip. I did the right thing, for the right reasons, and these idiots prefer to virtue signal and make this worse! Worse! (I don’t think legally they can, frankly. A step that might stand scrutiny would be to end all new hookups.) I looked at at tankless electric but would have needed a big upgrade in my service to handle the load.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        I’m no fan of the zealots – on either side and yes there are some idiots , I agree.

        But I do have confidence that we can significantly reduce our use of fuels in the next 25 years without having to “live in caves” which is another idiot perspective.

        Just an aside, I keep track of our gas usage and it is nothing short of amazing just how little we use once we installed an on-demand.

        And yes.. it’s a very “conservative” idea also!


        1. how_it_works Avatar

          If your on-demand is taking combustion air from outside the house, your gas usage may go down (in the winter) simply because you no longer have a flue sending warm air out of the house with cold make-up air coming from the outside.

          And gas tank water heaters aren’t as well insulated as electric ones, they can’t be. So electric water heaters have less standby losses than gas ones.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            I thought it was about only heating the water you use versus keeping a tank heated 24/7. no?

          2. how_it_works Avatar

            No, there are other factors. A flue is a big air leak to the outside. If you can get rid of that you have just made your heating and cooling bills go down.

            As far as keeping a tank heated 24×7 that is what is known as “standby loss”. Modern electric tank water heaters are very well insulated and therefore have a low standby loss.

            Gas tank water heaters, unfortunately, cannot be insulated as well. They have the flue running up the center (that cannot be insulated) and the bottom where the burner is also cannot be insulated.

            As a result, gas tank water heaters have a higher standby loss compared to an electric tank water heater.

          3. LarrytheG Avatar

            so on-demand is less efficient than a conventional water heater?

            when we talk about stand-by “loss” does it matter if it is 24/7 or just a few minutes?

          4. how_it_works Avatar

            No I am not saying that on-demand is less efficient than a conventional water heater.

            If you have to add a flue where none existed before to install a gas tankless on-demand water heater (such as you are replacing an electric water heater), then you might actually increase your heating and cooling bills due to the constant loss of inside air through the flue.

            If your gas tankless on-demand water vents directly to the outside through the wall and also takes it’s combustion air from outside. then you don’t have the loss of inside air through a flue, and this won’t make your heating/cooling bills go up.

            If you have replaced a gas tank water heater with a gas tankless water heater that vents directly to the outside and takes it’s combustion air from the outside, and you have removed the flue for the water heater, this could actually make your heating/cooling bills go down since you no longer have a flue sucking inside air out of your house.

            I am assuming in this scenario that your furnace has already been replaced with a 90+ AFUE condensing furnace that does not use a conventional flue, but has PVC pipes which take combustion air from the outside and discharge the exhaust to the outside.

            Standby loss is the gradual loss of heat of the water stored in the tank. I was pointing out that a modern electric water heater has very little standby loss. So little that it’s questionable as to whether it’s worth the cost and expense of replacing it with a tankless.

            If you have an existing electric water heater, a heat pump water heater would probably give you more energy savings for the cost, and it’s far easier/cheaper to install. Fits in the same footprint and uses the same 30 amp, 240 volt electrical circuit.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            Aren’t you talking about issues involving proper installation?

            and how would you compare a gas tank heater versus a gas tankless?

            both have flues?

            one presumes that the installation issues would be done properly whether a standard gas-heated tank or a tankless, no?

            we have our tankless in a garage anyhow.

            but we have a gas furnace with the pVC and as far as I can tell, no air leakage either.

            are we doing apples to apples here/

          6. how_it_works Avatar

            A gas tankless can be set up to draw it’s combustion air from outside the house.

            Can’t do that with a regular gas heated tank water heater as far as I’ve ever seen.

            As far as installation in a garage, I would be concerned about the possibility of freezing, which will wreck a tankless water heater.

          7. Stephen Haner Avatar
            Stephen Haner

            Our unit is out in the garage in a closet, unheated space, with a flue horizontal to the outside over the garage door. A key to our decision was the amount of time (pre-COVID!) we planned to be traveling and using zero hot water.

          8. LarrytheG Avatar

            Our garage has never got to freezing even if the coldest temps. And I still don’t get the “flue” issue. Many HVAC and on-demand units draw outside air and vent outside but they don’t bring in cold air to the indoor space.

            there are other options – called hybrid water heaters that are storage tanks that are heated by waste heat from the HVAC and also solar-heated tanks.

            The point is that the least expensive, up-front option is the standard water heater but just like LED lights that are also often more expensive – over the long run – they are not only cheaper but less polluting.

            We’ve got a couple of decades of more technology improvements before we theoretically hit the drop-dead date.

            If a carbon tax is implemented with revenues used to incentivize less polluting air and water heating units it would work little different from water/sewer hookups that cost 20K up-front per housing unit but are spread out over many years. In both cases, pollution is much reduced despite the up-front costs.

          9. how_it_works Avatar

            If your garage has never got to freezing even in the coldest temps, congratulations–you have a poorly insulated house! (Typical for Virginia construction…).

            (The walls between the garage and the house are supposed to be insulated..and air sealed).

            I’m not sure what you don’t understand abotu the flue issue. If a gas appliance draws combustion air from inside and vents to the outside, it will bring cold or hot/humid outside air inside to make up for what it sent outside.

          10. LarrytheG Avatar

            Oh I do understand – it only brings in the cold air when it’s on. other times it does not. Works similar to propane furnaces with flues.

            Basically a cinder-block wall between house and garage and a concrete slab floor. The inside of the basement wall is insulated and if the garage door is opened, it takes dome time to get back to it’s normal winter temp.

            Are you familiar with the normal ground temp year around that underlies the concrete slab and can be used by ground-based HVACs to heat/cool?

          11. how_it_works Avatar

            Well, the other issue with a flue is that even when the gas appliance it is connected to is not running, you still get warm air from inside the house rising up through it. Not nearly as much as when it’s running, but still enough to waste a bit of energy.

            My garage is over a concrete slab and is attached to the house, yet it gets below freezing fairly often in the winter.

            But my house is tight and well insulated, so very little heat from the house leaks into the garage to keep it warm.

          12. LarrytheG Avatar

            I may have some leakage over days/weeks but not that much, it can be in the forties and lower but never hard freeze and I’ve seen quite a few garages of others where they do seem to store liquids so I’m thinking few garages really freeze..

            What exactly is your point here on this anyhow? I have an older house. I have spent time and money on it – on more insulation, on insulated windows, on new siding and on more efficient appliances and equipment. I’m doing the things I can do, so what is your point? That I have to buy a new one?

          13. how_it_works Avatar

            One thing you need to consider is that a tankless water heater will freeze a lot quicker than a bottle of water.

            My point is that putting a tankless water heater in an unheated space in an area where winter temperatures regularly go below freezing could result in some problems.

          14. LarrytheG Avatar

            so far – so good and the installer said it was a common installation without problems – we did ask and was and am prepared to take action if needed.

            I keep a remote thermometer in the garage and monitor it every day. Right now, it’s 71 and the outside temp is 71!
            and the inside temp on the inside wall is 77.

          15. how_it_works Avatar

            Keep in mind all we need is some freak weather like in Texas over the winter and lots of common installations will have problems!

          16. LarrytheG Avatar

            Yep, and I’d be doing something about it! But I’ve never seen anything even close to freezing in 30+ years.

          17. how_it_works Avatar

            A couple of years ago it got below 0F here. MY heat pump didn’t like that very much…

          18. LarrytheG Avatar

            that’s where the gas furnace is cheaper! 😉

            I’d freeze my butt in your house at 68 and 60…. We have a small gas fireplace and basically heat the room we’re in the most.

            I’m a skeptic that gas goes completely away any time soon no matter who is suggesting it. We’re not going to let people freeze in their apartments.

          19. how_it_works Avatar

            If you’re travelling and using zero hot water, with a regular tank water heater, you can (1) flip the circuit breaker to your electric water heater OFF or (2) set the gas control on your gas water heater to VACATION.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I agree about the extreme viewpoints and the fact that some folks, including government officials, are actually virtue signaling… and playing on ignorance.

    However, not every one is that ignorant either nor so partisan and radical that they see issues as all or nothing, black or white – even over 25 years.

    A question is – if we can cut gas consumption by 80% – give or take over 25 years, is that “good enough” and I ask that with regard to the folks on the left and the right. More than that, why opposed efforts that would result in 80% reduction just because some idiots are advocating for 100% or nothing?

    The developed countries use the most energy by far. We can talk about India or China all we want but tend to use 10 times as much energy per capita and we have the opportunity for meaningful reduction of consumption – without turning into a 3rd world country.

    We can do this. It’s not impossible by a long shot. It’s our attitudes and partisan attitudes that make it tough.

  4. Sounds like an opportunity for entrepreneurs… Who’s with me? There has to be a ton of fat in there, and you could improve service and grow. Maybe talk to the tobacco guys on how to live in the quasi-regulated world?

  5. how_it_works Avatar

    I know that things in Virginia don’t always work the way they’re supposed to, but how is this municipal utility actually contributing to Richmond’s general fund? There have been lawsuits about that sort of stuff elsewhere, where non-city customers sue the city because they’re skimming profits off the utility and funding city services with them.

  6. This resolution is virtue signaling on steroids. As you observe, Steve, these are not serious people. The budgetary impact on city finances would be massive. When push comes to shove, no sane council person would vote to eliminate a $10 million annual contribution to city funds and absorb the gas utility’s debt, thus threatening the city’s bond rating and crippling future borrowing.

    What I find astonishing is that the RTD did not cover this story. You first heard of it on Twitter?

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Well, to the RTD 30 employees in dutch over vaccines are more important that 117,000 families and businesses taking it up the wazoo on this. The RTD is all in with this dream world.

  7. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

    The whole Northeast uses a lot of natural gas in homes. If we phase out natural gas, a LOT more electricity is needed. If we phase out gasoline cars, yet a LOT more electricity is needed. My (gas) HVAC equipment is old and I wonder if I should convert to heat pump and elec hot water to keep up with liberal trends. My neighbors have 24-inch attic insulation to deal with the heat pump weaknesses.

    1. how_it_works Avatar

      I have a heatpump. It’s a 4-ton (48,000BTU) unit, on a 3300 sq ft house in rural Prince William County. I just have the normal amount of attic insulation (9.3 inches of cellulose, R30).

      However, before the insulation went in, I sealed the top plate with great stuff.

      And before the drywall went in, I sealed all the gaps and seams in the exterior sheathing with polyurethane caulk or great stuff.

      I also sealed the toe plate with polyurethane caulk (between the subfloor and the 2×4).

      As a result…my heatpump can keep the house at 68F even down to 20F, without the use of aux heat.

      If the outdoor temp drops to 10F(rare, but it’s happened a few times), it’ll keep the house at 60F, again, without the use of aux heat (although it’s pretty much running continuously at this temperature).

      My other option for heat would have been a propane furnace. No thanks. Don’t want $300 heating bills.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Man – you’re doing what ought to be done to conserve energy AND your money! Good on you!

        Just think how much less electricity we’d need if more of us did what you did?

        Are you familiar with Eric here in BR? He’s done quite a bit also but in a different way – ground-based heat pump, solar, etc… I think net zero grid.

        1. how_it_works Avatar

          What I did took a few hours and cost maybe $200 in materials, yet few builders will bother 🙁

          And it’s really difficult if not impossible to go back and do this after the house is built. Better to do it right the first time…

  8. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    I want to know who is going to pay to replace all those boilers in city buildings and in the vast number of decrepit housing through out the city?
    The city’s tax base is only so big. And they are already high in taxes.
    This will be framed as an Equity issue and the state will be expected to swoop in and provide everyone with shiny new HVACs and appliances.

  9. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    “Virtue signaling on steroids? Not serious people.

    Alrighty then, let’s unpack the blog post and some comments.

    (1) The
    resolution was passed 14.5 months ago, so it’s not exactly a hot news flash.

    (2) If
    you look at the timing, this was passed two months after Gov. Ralph Northam
    signed in law the Virginia Clean Economy Act, passed by the General Assembly. Among
    other things, this law require Dominion to go all renewable by 2045.; Doesn’t
    it stand to reason that the City of Richmond approved this concern for Richmond
    Gas Works with the Clean Economy Act going into effect.

    (3) This
    might be news to some on this blog, but many larger corporations, including carmakers,
    want to go all renewable soon. The big tech giants that are spreading through
    out the state – Google, Facebook and Amazon – all want their new facilities to
    be powered by renewables. Take a look at this 2019 piece from Forbes to see
    what firms are going renewable:

    If this was published two years ago,
    one might imagine that more firms have signed on. True to its Virginia roots,
    Bacons Rebellion serves to stamp out progress and keep things as they have
    been. It’s really too bad.

    1. Matt Adams Avatar

      “If this was published two years ago,
      one might imagine that more firms have signed on. True to its Virginia roots,
      Bacons Rebellion serves to stamp out progress and keep things as they have
      been. It’s really too bad.”

      That begs the questions, if you despise it so badly, why come back to comment?

    2. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

      The logic here is the Dems have mandated end of fossil fuels, it is now law, so the discussion is over. Get with the program.

    3. I understand how this action by Richmond might appear to be an effort to get ahead of the curve on Clean Economy Act requirements, but it affects consumer-level use of natural gas, not the generation of electricity by power companies. As far vas I know, the Act does not [currently] restrict the burning of fossil fuels at the consumer level.

      It seems to me that severely reducing or eliminating gas service to consumers will result in a significant load increase on the electric grid. Homeowners, businesses and government agencies must use something to heat their buildings and provide hot water to them. If you can’t burn oil or gas to generate heat, then the only viable alternative, especially in an urban setting, is to use electricity to generate it.

      I think messing around with consumer-level natural gas service at this point will harm Dominion’s (and others’) chances of meeting the 2045 deadline for “100% renewable” electric generation.

    4. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Look at the linked document and you see Peter is lying. Introduced July 2021. Passed at the meeting just this week.

  10. disqus_VYLI8FviCA Avatar

    I guess I can always go back to burning heating oil…it worked like a charm.

    1. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

      In NJ due to expensive elec and no gas lines, we went to oil hot water and oil heat. When we finally got gas, we kept the oil hot water because it was so nice.

      But you miss the point, U.S. liberals want to ban fossil fuels as the greatest enemy ever known to humanity. So this policy complicates the household and business HVAC choices.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        First, I don’t think any ban will actually be invoked if there is substantial push back from voters.

        You can count on that.

        Second, you have more than “liberals” to worry about when it comes to climate change.

        The skeptics/deniers are now a distinct minority.

        Ya’ll have lost that argument, and the question now is what will be done (or not).

  11. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Matt, I have been writing for Bacons Rebellion for at least 15 years and I don’t have to agree with all of the posts and comments. Why should I?

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Ah, the old I’ve been here longer and therefore I’m smarter argument. Another version of Ad Hominem Peter.

    2. Matt Adams Avatar

      “Peter Galuszka • 3 hours ago
      Matt, I have been writing for Bacons Rebellion for at least 15 years and I don’t have to agree with all of the posts and comments. Why should I?”

      I couldn’t care less how long you’ve been writing, it’s not relevant. You insistently bit*h and moan about what others write and how it’s beneath you. I’ve also never said you had to agree with the comments, there is a stark difference between not agreeing with comments and calling them BS.

  12. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Lying? This is from what you posted in italic:

    Resolution No. 2020-R024, adopted June 8, 2020.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      That was the previous resolution setting some amorphous goal. This is the hard details on “how”, adopted Wednesday. The date is at the top and on the clerk’s form at the end.

      1. I can see how Peter interpreted the “June 8, 2020” reference as the date that City Council passed the resolution you were referring to. His point may not be valid for the reasons you explained. But that doesn’t mean he was lying. To avoid confusion, you might consider excising the date from the first paragraph.

    2. There appears to be some confusion here:

      The text of Resolution No. 2021-R049, which was adopted on September 15, 2021, makes reference to a previous Resolution No. 2020-R024, adopted on June 8, 2020.

      The two are not the same.

    3. LarrytheG Avatar

      Hey the rules in BR have changed.. If someone says something and you point it out – it means you’re lying! 😉

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        But he was making a big mistake, and I’m not willing to concede it was inadvertent. Not him. Nobody does more name calling here than thee….

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          so if something that actually did happen prior is said to be an “amorphous goal” in YOUR opinion – it means he is lying? Really? geeze…

          I think you guys have some issues with wording sometimes where according to you – it’s a goal and at other times, it’s a Draconian edict that must be followed.

          lying, name calling, personal attacks, yep

  13. Ronnie Chappell Avatar
    Ronnie Chappell

    Here’s hoping the Richmond City Council follows through on this lunatic idea. Won’t be long till Richmond has a new city council.

  14. LarrytheG Avatar

    is this the “offending” paragraph: ” BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Council hereby commits to working with the City’s Administration on an equitable plan to phase out reliance on gas and shift to accelerated investment in City-owned
    7renewable energy and hereby recognizes that the continued operation of the City’s gas utility is an obstacle to the City’s goal of Net-Zero emissions in accordance Resolution No. 2020-R024, adopted June 8, 2020. ”


    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Peter stated that I was writing about something that had happened 14 months ago. I was writing about a 2021 resolution adopted two days ago, which included a reference to an older action. Peter was stating falsehoods and I think knowingly….

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        why reference the earlier resolution at all if it is not really related?

        I don’t think you can have it both ways and no, what Peter said was not lying – it was a legitimate comment about the relationship between the current and prior related resolution.

        It’s not “lying”‘ when someone disagrees with your interpretation, IMHO.

        To me lying is the INTENT to deceive –

        I know there is a lot of that going around now days especially when it comes to these goals to reduce or eliminate fossil fuels – as to WHEN.

        Only the wacadoodles are talking about eliminating all fossil fuels right now – today.

        everyone else is talking about reducing and elimination towards a future date – often 20+ years from now.

        We cannot seem to have honest and truthful discussions on this.

  15. At least it will be equitable…

  16. I just read the entire text of Resolution No. 2021-R049.

    It contains plenty of overly simplistic statements as well as a fair amount of divisive social justice posturing.

    And, in addition to the “natural gas bad” part, the resolution also includes the following commitments:

    Rehab the city’s combined sewers (VERY expensive)
    Implement “socially responsible banking policies” (yeah, right)
    Create and implement a plastic bag tax (given the number of words in the resolution it was a fair bet there would be at least one new tax created)
    Implement a “clean fleet management program”. (Very expensive, but okay, whatever)
    Create a new Soil and Water Conservation District which encompasses the entire city. (probably a good idea if it is managed properly)
    Develop an Urban Forestry Plan for the city and a department o manage it (also a good idea if it includes reasonable solutions and is well managed)

    …and a few other expensive commitments

    All told, the Resolution creates at least four new management-level positions and who knows how many other new city employees.

    God only knows how much money it’s going to take to do everything included in Resolution No. 2021-R049, but I can tell you that if they are serious about correctly addressing the combined-sewers issue, the cost of that effort alone will approach one-billion dollars.

  17. Glen Besa Avatar

    How convenient that Mr. Haner neglects to mention climate change. No one would shut down Richmond Gas Works overnight as Haner implies. If we start today, we could begin phasing out gas as current appliances age out and are replaced by high efficiency heat pumps and other electricity based appliances. The fossil fuel industry has stalled action on climate the past 30 years. Now is the time to #ActonClimate.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Hey Glen, they used the word “phase” and I get that, but that doesn’t change the bottom line goal, which the public is not going to accept. But the time to have the debate over whether this is feasible or smart or of any value is now, up front. Every climate action Virginia might do over the next twenty years is being cancelled by just one of the new coal plants the Chinese are building. They won’t slow down. So why destroy our economy and ruin so many family budgets?

  18. […] officials have been publicly silent about the meaning of the Richmond City Council vote on September 13 that it intends to “phase out reliance on gas” and considers […]

  19. Morris Meyer Avatar
    Morris Meyer

    A better electric water heater conversion is to go with an electric heat pump water heater. Dominion has residential rebates for HPWH.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Pretty expensive but yes – big up front – but downstream cost-effective.

      I expect the cost to get better over time just like other technology… has…

  20. […] see how Hanover and Henrico react when the Richmond City Council carries out its proposal to close Richmond Gas Works and eliminate the ability of their citizens to choose gas. That is also a recognized monopoly […]

  21. […] first reported by Bacon’s Rebellion, and in general ignored by the rest of the Richmond new media,  the […]

  22. […] was a Richmond City Council resolution back in the fall, expressing a desire to shut down its municipal natural gas utility, that […]

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