US Utilities Offer Builders Cash And Trips To Fit Homes With Gas Appliances

"Utilities give rewards to house builders to install and promote gas appliances in homes – and enlist celebrity chefs to extoll the fossil fuel

Dozens of US gas utilities, serving more than 35 million customers, offer builders and contractors incentives to keep fossil fuels in buildings, the Guardian has found.

Washington state’s NW Natural offers builders $2,000 for each new single-family home they equip with gas appliances, while Texas’s Corpus Christi Gas offers $1,000. And in Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy participates in a program that offers paid vacations to builders who outfit homes with gas.

Meanwhile, gas utility trade groups are training members to sell builders on the continued use of the planet-heating fossil fuel, including through trainings at conferences and webinars. “Stress the lifestyle benefits that come with a natural gas home,” one instructor said in a recording of a training session heard by the Guardian.

The initiatives are part of gas interests’ decades-long effort to capture builders, contractors and real estate agents – trusted figures to homebuyers and developers – according to an investigation by the Guardian. It’s part of a larger influence campaign that dates back to collaborations with esteemed chefs like Jacques Pépin, newly unearthed archival documents show."

Dharna Noor reports for the Guardian December 21, 2023.

Source: Guardian, 12/22/2023