SAN FRANCISCO—According to a report by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Francisco is looking to ban all gas powered appliances, “In response to global climate change.” In order to take that step, it will cost a large sum of money to make the switch from gas to electric. 

Former SF Mayor Mark Farrell committed San Francisco to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 back in April 2018 in order to eliminate the city’s carbon footprint. California mandates a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. An April 22 city report estimates the cost to be between $3.5 and $5.9 billion to single and multi-family housing units. On the low end, retrofitting all of San Francisco’s single and multi-family housing units would cost $1.098 billion and $2.352 billion respectively, while on the high end it could cost $2.660 billion and $3.205 billion.

“Requiring electric appliances only for all newly constructed residences” and “requiring electric appliance retrofitting for all residences at the time of sale” are a few of the approaches listed in the report. One of the approaches list an incentive on property owners to retrofit appliances such as charging a fee for greenhouse gases emitted by the property.

Another cost concern for the city is the possible strain of the city’s power grid due to the added amount of electricity that would be added by all of the retrofitted electric appliances. The city estimates that building of San Francisco’s gas enabled units into electric would create 423-774 construction jobs per year for the 25-year period from 2020-2045.

A building electrification advocate for the city reported that few contractors currently do electrification work, among Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contractors. It would force the city to make a significant investment in job training to support the workforce needed to achieve widespread building decarbonization.