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With new building code, Palo Alto doubles down on electrification

Original post made on Oct 19, 2022

Seeking to wean local residents and businesses off natural gas, Palo Alto adopted on Monday night an ambitious new building code that requires every new building to be "all-electric."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 9:23 AM

Comments (47)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2022 at 9:28 am

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I would much rather see a doubling down to make our electrical service more reliable.

Imagine living in a brand new home and losing power several times a year! No heating, no cooking, no hot water, spoiled food, no ability to charge devices or EV!

Can we stop putting more reliance on an inefficient service? Can we improve reliability to our present customers. The State tells us to conserve power by not charging our EVs. How can this be allowed to happen? Can someone put an adult in charge, please!


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2022 at 9:51 am

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“Members of sustainability focused group Carbon Free Palo Alto and 350 Silicon Valley urged the council to use this occasion to also mandate electric space heaters as part of remodels. “

I’m a fan of electric space heaters myself BUT why does the City always allow these outside lobbyists groups to have so much control? Or anything with “Silicon Valley” in the name.


Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 19, 2022 at 10:33 am

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This fantasy fails to account for exactly how we’ll generate the baseline power supply without fossil fuels- renewables aren’t adequate and ppl are irrational about nuclear.
Further, basic math shows the mining (and associated hydrocarbons to mine) needed for the copper, lithium, silver, etc. would need to be exponentially greater than the tonnage already mined from the dawn of time until today, then repeated every 20 years.


Posted by paloaltocathy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 19, 2022 at 11:51 am

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Any idea when these new regulations are effective? Does this mean no chance of converting my wood-burning fireplace into gas logs? With Spare the Air days and no gas fireplaces, is a fireplace now simply a decorative feature? Too many questions, but that’s a lot to unpack!


Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 19, 2022 at 11:56 am

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"requires homeowners to install heat pump water heaters when their existing ones are replaced"
I thought we had until 2030 before this requirement went into effect. Are replacement gas water heaters now not allowed in Palo Alto? What if the homeowner does the replacement themselves?


Posted by funky
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 19, 2022 at 1:20 pm

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Bystander…. you complain about the reliability of our electrical supply. I used to have a UPS for my computer and end up replacing the battery in it twice and we never had a power failure in about 8 years. I’ve lived here for 26 years and I can count the number of failure on one hand. I have to wonder if live in Palo Alto? My experience tells me it more reliable than any place I’ve lived.


Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 19, 2022 at 2:00 pm

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I think I had an hour of power outage a couple years ago because of a mylar balloon. Also had one neighbor lose their house because a gas leak burned it down. All-electric is definitely a way better choice, and even makes financial sense at an individual level with the Inflation Reduction Act combined with the city heat pump hot water heater subsidy.


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 19, 2022 at 2:41 pm

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I'm making popcorn in my electric microwave oven for this show. Every time there is a doubling down mentioned in an article I am mindful that most blackjack games now use multiple decks so the chances of pulling a win after doubling down are rare. The house (or City, in this case) is the only winner in this game. There must be a catch, and we may not find out until it's too late. So far, as predicted, there is no enforcement of the pod house and its dangerous energy practices. What else will we find out, after the fact, and who is the beneficiary of forcing single family homes to convert to all electric? As for the multi family homes being constructed, I am already familiar with the woeful tale of inefficient appliances and iffy warranties. Of course SFH will have some kind of enforceable warranty, but MFH dwellers will not likely have those luxuries. And the grid... we are making so much electricity ourselves it seems odd that we have so many outages. Carbon neutrality will benefit someone. Who is that someone? I am going to do some research to report later about the statistics on home fires caused by electric space heaters. But I will leave this here for now: "The National Fire Protection Association puts that figure into even starker context, noting that space heaters factor into about 43 percent of home heating-related fires (which includes items like water heaters and fireplaces) and 85 percent of associated deaths." Interesting, eh? Is it wise to let the City Council dictate appliances we use to keep warm in the winter?


Posted by Andrea
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2022 at 2:59 pm

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As someone who lived in Palo Alto for 40 years and now lives in the Santa Cruz Mtns, I feel I can weigh in on this all electric debate. We lose power here a lot. Just part of life up here. You plug in your GAS generator and hope its not more than a few days. When you have a woodburning fireplace you can keep your house warm. You can use a GAS grill or bbq to cook. When your house is all electric let me tell you its not fun. EVERYTHING goes out including our WiFi. This is especially hard in the winter. So when people want to ban gas generators and anything gas in the house I don't think its realistic. Not everyone can afford solar. Im lucky that my rental does so I don't lose power hardly ever now but this is not the norm. If I didn't have a gas generator in my other house or a wood burning stove we'd have to leave in the winter without power. Just too cold. How about some of these decision makers join the rest of society and not just the elite before making these types of decisions.


Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 19, 2022 at 3:06 pm

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@No heat ... Electric is not a better choice. The Inflation Reduction Act has done nothing to reduce inflation and converting to electric won't change that. Inflation is the highest it's been in 40 years. The Build Back Better pipedream has resulted in nothing being built and nothing being better. Put it to a vote and let the tax payers decide. City Council was elected to work for the citizens not make radical and costly moves like this without their input. Lastly, build up the grid first so it can handle the increased load across the state. But that makes too much sense.


Posted by OldPA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 19, 2022 at 3:08 pm

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Does the new code specify noise limits on the heat-pump heating and hot water systems?\

The outdoor-mounted compressor units of air conditioners can noisy and a heat-pump heater is just an air conditioner operating in reverse. The original heat-pump hot water heaters were fairly quiet but after manufacturers changed designs many new ones are very noisy. This isn't a problem if the water heater is in a garage, but is a bigger problem if it's inside the house. Hopefully the manufacturers will solve the noise problem.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2022 at 5:16 pm

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Since some commenters claim that they have not had multiple power outages at their homes and perhaps only one in 26 years it is time for Gennady to do some research into Palo Alto power outages.

It would be interesting to see if there are areas in Palo Alto where power goes out more often than other areas. I would be interested in hearing whether there are areas where the lines are underground and that they get fewer outages than areas where the lines are strung through trees, squirrel highways, with birds and mylar balloons a constant threat? Is this a north of Oregon rarity and only those south of Oregon get several outages each year?

If Gennedy could do this research, perhaps he could also look into how much each outage costs to repair, particularly on stormy winter nights when presumably the line crews are on overtime?

We are suffering unreliable electrical service! It seems that some either are in denial or forget just how often these happen. Unless of course it is a north/south divide.


Posted by d page
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 19, 2022 at 8:55 pm

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Hooray for the long-suffering, hard-working folks at Carbon Free Palo Alto and 350 Silicon Valley!

Several commenters worry about grid outages. We spent $4,000 to install 5 solar panels a few years ago. We bought 2 lithium batteries from REI @ $3,000 each.

Now we have back up for blackouts, and provide some (rooftop solar) of our own electricity on normal days.

PERHAPS you might not be able to do something similar, but many Palo Altans can. With the tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act, these actions have become more affordable.


Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 19, 2022 at 9:25 pm

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We've had 3 outages in recent months, and more in the past few years. One of the key aspects of having a first-world economy is reliable access to electricity -- we seem to be moving away from that in Palo Alto. :(

D Page provides an example of spending $10k for a (partial?) backup solution. While that seems to work for them, many would find it a burden to spend $10k or more to remedy Palo Alto Utilities' deficiencies. Perhaps we can create a measurement of the costs of Palo Alto prioritizing virtue signaling ahead of functionality.


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2022 at 7:15 am

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Mondoman makes a good point about the virtue signaling. We all need to do what we can to stem the tide of global warming and I think most Palo Altans are "with the program" on that. I'd like to see the Palo Alto CITY Council focus more on the city and less on global issues. It's a tad preposterous to think that our city is going to set THE example for the nation or beyond. We have enormous city problems to solve and pay for. And we often hear about how little bandwidth City Staff has. Small wonder when they are working on global issues. Those issues are important and we must all do what we can, but the purview of City Council is City management. How about we prioritize solving the city's own problems? That would set a terrific example. Let's be a leader in that way.


Posted by marc665
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2022 at 11:41 am

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A cheaper backup solution is to go to Harbor Freight and buy a 9500 watt gas generator for $2500. This will power most homes. Get two 5 gallon gas cans and store them away from the house.

With gas hot water and gas cooktop you can survive for a long time.

/marc


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2022 at 7:51 pm

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"Get two 5 gallon gas cans and store them away from the house." What could possibly go wrong with that? That solution is only after we have been informed that the apocalypse is indeed happening and the world's grid has gone down and is staying down. If that's the case, hot showers and backyard weenie roasts would be the least of our problems.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 20, 2022 at 8:39 pm

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@Annette Hello, most Palo Altans are "good with the program" ?? Becasue why? You drive around in a Prius and/or a Telsa, shop locally, and ride your bike to Costco? Most Palo Altans are not "good with the program". Why? Because most of us do all of the above except, not own a hybrid, or shop at Trader Joe's and sometimes we forget our upcycled bags, because we are far too distracted paying 70% income to rent, and are suffering a massive COVID hangover, or might be hurrying to our service, elder care facility job to change wet depends. Then we clock out and have to rush out, find a parking space on ECR becasue our unit does not provide parking, get up into our micro unit by climbing 4 flights of stairs with 3 bags of groceris, throw together a dinner for our kids and supervise homework and bedtime. Essentially, very few of those making the most ranker about the local climate emergency, while denying Palo Alto sustainable rental home developments have no clue what is like to work a service job, or live poor. Most of us work very hard, every day, feel love and grieve the same as you, grow, and dream, just like you. You won't see stickers on our cars like "Coexist", "Live simply so others can simply live", or "act globally, shop locally" We do all of that with advertising. Yet. We might have a yellow, "baby on board" sticker because we drive with our precious cargo, our biggest act of love and giving, and caring assett that is not monetary but momentary. What I will say. My anger, as all the "signaling" takes its bloated mishaps like 1950's SciFi "the Blob", gets me angry. And though negative, yet. It is a feeling. And my feelings are real & valid. Just like your judgment when I don't produce my bag at the grocery store counter or clean up after my weenie dog's nightly doo. Priorities my dear, priorities. All the froth and no substance halts our shared dream of goodness, kindness, generosity, tolerance and yes, even faith.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 20, 2022 at 8:52 pm

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@MyFeelz. My all-electric fire hazard stove is smok'n hot, on low dial 2. 5years and counting. So much for all the electricity-mandated 2017 new build code enforcement. Palo Altans so hunched up in front of AutoCad consulting on Zoom and sending emails that open with words like "unfortunately,", "Circle back" or God, "thanks for your feedback" and can't design anything from the standpoint of human consumption or for humans to work and live. My stove is my piece of equipment to prepare food and feed my kids, every day. Design obsolescence is bigger here than anywhere. Except for attempting to get a mattress delivered in MYC. Whenever I hear the god-awful word "feedback", I immediately think of WWII movies and B17 Bomber radio static feedback while furiously taping the fuel gauge glass. Orin 1880's terms, Molly Hatchet's guitar players getting to close to thier 6 ft Marshall speakers while on stage at the Oakland Coliseum.


Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 21, 2022 at 8:38 am

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I would like to see the utilities department report that gave council members the confidence that future electricity supplies will be sufficient to handle the steadily increasing demand the ordinance will create.

Wait. There isn't one? Who would have thought.


Posted by Stepheny
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 21, 2022 at 12:24 pm

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Ironically, the only way to ensure uninterrupted power to those brand new All Electric dwellings and businesses is with a reliable, back up generator. Of course, natural gas is the best way to power that.

I am keeping the natural gas-powered fireplace, fire pit, standard gas water heater, etc. And, of course, I am keeping my Eichler radiant heating, powered by natural gas as well.

We are asked to transfer the City's revenues from the PAUD to the General Fund with Measure L. What's going to keep the General Fund afloat without those revenues?


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 21, 2022 at 12:42 pm

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@Native, I like your introspective delivery.

I am all for reviving WWII cliche's especially considering the age bracket most of the moneyed elite of PA were born in. "Loose lips sink ships" -- code for don't reveal what you really stand for until you get voted into office. "The fruits of victory are tumbling into our mouths too quickly." Also code, meaning don't count your chickens before they're hatched, especially when your itty bitty city is planning on singlehandedly winning the climate crisis war. And the penultimate classic cliche since the beginning of time but popular during WWII, "They’re overfed, overpaid, overdressed... and over here" -- they're here TOO. The cards have been dealt, the last card is about to be turned, revealing the winner of the big pot. It's not me and it's not you, But the meek shall inherit the earth, and from the looks of things it may come sooner than we think. The problem is not the electrification of any city. It's the overconfidence that we can somehow manage the earth's resources. We have proven to be dismal stewards of natural resources, especially here in the US and here in PA. I am doing everything I can to conserve those resources and I know you are too. I am not thinking for only myself, but for the next generation. Something most baby boomers don't care about. Last quote: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2022 at 1:27 pm

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I will support electrification as soon as the environmentalists and the people who voted for this stupid idea go all electric first. That includes your car.

I'm waiting.


Posted by Roy M
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2022 at 3:06 pm

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What's missing from all the discussions I've seen on electrification is the financial cost and red tape involved in the process for upgrading electrical service. Most houses in Palo Alto currently support 100-200 amps. If you convert to all electric, including power for your state mandated electric car, you will most likely need 400 amps. New construction can be designed accordingly, but existing homeowners need to upgrade, which requires a permit from the city. Between the cost of the new box (if you can find one given there is currently a shortage), the cost of the permits, and the time the city will take to approve your permit application, this ends up being a very costly (easily $20K) proposition even before you get your car charger and your heat pump. The least the city could do is streamline the permit process and hire more people to review permit applications. Rebates to help defray the cost would also help.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2022 at 8:58 pm

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2017 Mayfield Place is "all electric" and it goes down all the time. My kitchen stove is my mainstay for cooking food for my children. The coils and elements are singing out. What happened to union-paid contract work? The City and/or Stanford grossly overlooked codes and the safety of people for their profit margin.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2022 at 9:03 pm

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@MyFeelz Have you seen the locally grown, all-electric "Victory Garden" yet?


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 22, 2022 at 3:12 am

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@Native, I have only seen photos. Electricity is a newfangled idea in my family set on both sides. My mother never saw electric lights until she started school. My father did, because they had it at work (yay, child labor laws)and school. So from a city kid and a farm kid who didn't have electricity, they saw all those gadgets as if they were going to a museum every day. My mother never had a washing machine until 1965, and the dryer came later in 1968. What it taught us as kids was not to take energy for granted and use it conservatively because it wasn't free. It was more than just "they were Depression babies" -- it was that those babies were the last generation in America who would ever know what living without electricity was like. Now, as a society, we are addicted to electricity and energy in all forms. Not only that but now a city wants to mandate what sources we can use for energy. Rachel Carson wrote in 1962 about how we were killing the earth with chemicals, and when combined with the pillage of non-renewable energy we sealed our fate. I have lived off the grid, and could do it indefinitely if necessary. But it's not going to save the planet. We would ALL have to do it, and put more back into the earth than we've taken out of it. So, as I sit here typing on my old laptop and sending this message through a non-fiber ISP, I am fully prepared for what would happen if suddenly the grid went down forever. Even the Amish use electricity (shhhh... that's a secret). And they drive cars. And they eat at McDonald's. They're just better prepared than most for the day when the grid fails permanently.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2022 at 1:33 am

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@MyFeelz My mom loved the ice cubes, ice trays, iced cream, and the ice box. No more going to the ice house. Ice in aluminum trays all ready to serve was in her lifetime. Ice was a joy and a pleasure to share. There was no electricity on her mother's homestead in Haver MT in the 1900's teens. She was happy with iced teas, iced juices, iced coffees in hand, and once a year, a blended iced margarita all with the biggest warmest heart ever. She taught me tolerance, giving, faith, and laughter. She served in WWII during segregated army battalions, and read Adel Davis in the '50's. Nursed all nine of her babies. Took multiples of multiple vits every day. And my mom did not get the all-electric washer until 1967 or so. I remember a mountain of freshly laundered, line-dried cloth diapers as high as Mt. Tam.


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2022 at 11:36 am

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I was blessed to grow up in a comfortable suburban home. My parents were Depression kids. They instilled in us strong values about conservation and saving. Waste NOTHING. Be generous with charity.

I care deeply about the well-being of the next generation--my children and grandchildren. I hope we will not make this issue a generational battle. It is not. Climate change is an issue that requires all of us to work together NOW, not later.

I have converted my stove to induction electric--better than gas for fussy cooking. I have an Eichler with working radiant heat, so that's gas and a change to electric would be exhorbitantly expensive. I use bike, walking and transit for most local trips. My water heater has not been changed yet, so I haven't yet investigated switching to electric. I would like to do that when the time comes. I will be closely watching the city's work to improve reliable electric. I live in south Palo Alto where we have electric service challenges. I keep a gas grill to fill in when the power is out.


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2022 at 1:26 pm

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@Native sounds like you had a cool mom. Mine also faithfully followed the Davis vitamin books! Your mom's gifts to you were the only things worth having. They will serve you well in the coming years. Our moms embraced automation as "progress"; I just hope we haven't wrung everything out of the earth for the next generation.

@C.Y.O. we are all doing what we can, or at least saying we are. What I'm afraid of is that people think it's only temporary. These changes will require sacrifices for older people who are used to luxuries. Kids growing up now will make the changes permanent with less pain.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2022 at 2:31 pm

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@MyFeelz. For sure. Because we had very few auto's growing up, we walked most places, took the bus, or the train, or hitched rides, line dried our clothes (no electric dryer for years). My mom really did not get her forever car until she was 62 and it was a 10 year-old econo car. So the fridged ice was the one luxury she counted on, when there was electricity (PG&E) turned the lights and gas off many times for lack of payment by coming with a wrench. Once time for two weeks. Finally she scraped it together for full payment minus .50 cents. The A#$%S refused to turn back on because yes, fifty cents "due". Sick. This was years before thier Enron, brown out debacle of the ealy 2000's. I am a survivor as they say.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2022 at 2:52 pm

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Older people are used to more luxuries? That makes me laugh.

Older people walked much more than people do nowadays. They used buses and trains and could read the schedules to do so. They were used to recycling and reusing milk bottles and soda bottles as well as returning cans for the deposit. Older people bought newspapers to read and then used them for all sorts of purposes from wrapping food to keep it warm, using to clean windows and some even instead of toilet paper in outhouses! School books had to be covered in brown paper from grocery bags and shoes had to be taken to be mended. Laundry had to be hung out on lines to dry and then ironed.

I'm not talking about poor people, I'm talking about the general population.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2022 at 3:34 pm

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@Bystander Yes there was a degree of luxury when things were tight during The Great Depression and WWII. Like my grandparents rented a room for 8 years to make up for the loss of income during the Great Depression. My mom shacked up with her "old Maid" aunt, even shared a bed with her. At the same time, my grandparents had an ice box with the luxury of iced cubes and my grandfather walked to work every day to his small, humble, honest business as a merchant and craftsman. The luxury back then by scrimping here and spending there, they retired from MN to San Mateo in 1951. That was a HUGE luxury they made happen !!! Now we are in an era of extremes. If you don't have it all, you have nothing. Here is another luxury worth every ounce. Learning about and using white vinegar to clean windows 50 years ago. Its cheap, climate friendly, get squeeky clean, better than stinky windex.


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 24, 2022 at 3:54 pm

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Bystander I'm an old people now. I traveled by legs, skates, bikes, car, bus, motorcycle, trains, planes, and moped (don't judge!). I had electric lights in my house, refrigeration, indoor cooking, central heat and air (not here though because in PA "we don't need A/C here") sonicaire toothbrush, aquarium with an electric pump -- you name it, I had it and it was powered. I never learned until several decades later how to live without all of those conveniences. I had all those things despite always being on the lower edge of the income bracket that can afford to live here in PA! The next generation "in general" is going to have to start their lives living without many of the conveniences I took for granted and it won't make as much of a difference to them as it will be to "older people who now exist". Not talking about people 100 years ago. Talking about older people right now. Of course 60 is the new 80, lol. Unless you're living in my body, where 60 is the new "it's time to make final preparations". Tell all the people on life support regardless of age or income during a power outage that it's a shame the hospital has been banned from having a fuel powered generator during such an emergency. Regardless of income, it's a looming probability if Stanford Hospital is required to be at Carbon Zero and not allowed to have a generator. Did you notice that during the outages we had here in September they weren't as affected because they had generators? Yeah. But I guess they aren't the "general population".

@Native, I'm going to miss ice. My mother never learned to drive. She got a ride with someone to give birth to my baby brother and left us home in the care of a 10 year old. Today they would arrest her and put all of us kids in foster care. She cried every month paying the bills. Nothing left after rent, utilities and food. In that order. Our mothers wanted a better life for us, and mostly they achieved it. By fostering fierce independence.


Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on Oct 25, 2022 at 1:44 pm

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Palo Alto Utilities does a great job in purchasing lots of renewable electricity, but that is not what us users use. Palo Alto users get their electricity from the Grid, no different than Menlo Park or Mt. View. Last year more than 35% of the electricity we used came from power plants using natural gas for energy. See Web Link . It turns out that in the afternoon many solar energy farms have too much electricity and it can't be used. What we need is the ability to use that excess energy and store it when we need it at night. Palo Alto Utilities should be working with energy storage developers to speed up this process.


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 25, 2022 at 4:25 pm

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@Native my grandmother somehow got some pennies together to have a photo made with my mother at about the age of 1 year. Grandma was wearing a hand knitted cloche hat and matching sweater, her fingernails were dirty, but her smile was sweet. My mother was also wearing a hand knitted cap tied on and sweater to match. Grandma lived to the age of 99, and was always proud of that photo. You are really conjuring up a lot of memories. The sacrifices the Depression generation made were huge, and the luxuries of that time are not forgotten. PS my mother taught me to use newspaper for cleaning windows. Nothing was ever wasted!


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2022 at 1:25 pm

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@MyFeelz Both my grandparents were born in the late 19th Century in Winona MN. A river town on the Mississippi. My grandfather might have been a great photographer but went into the merchant business to support his family. He was an avid camper. Hunted fish and ducks and beaver. With only an 8th grade education, his nightly ritual was to read the Harvard Classics -- the complete volume set, over and again! His life's work was to be sustainable citizen of all life. He traded with the the Pawnee (or what was left of the our Great and sorrow full tribe (s) back in early 20th Century. My grandmother got to vote for first time in 1921. They never missed this democratic institutional right. I remember very little about him except for his home in San Mateo, cigars and sitting in an easy chair reading his beloved HC's. He imbibed to the soul the American dream -- carrying with it faith, love and hope and of course, hard work as a craftsman. Stock, stock holders, stock shares or amassing property or personal material wealth was not his dream. It just was not in his or my grandmother's bones or blood.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2022 at 1:28 pm

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PS @MyFeelz one of my fave Stevie Wonder lines. Her clothes were old/but never were they dirty/just enough/just enough in the city.


Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 27, 2022 at 5:55 pm

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Natural gas, or green hydrogen, is quite dangerous distributed in a major earthquake area. Even with shutoff valves, a few fires would quickly spread through our mostly wooden construction when there would be little ability to fight so many fires. And there is the possibility of multiple San Bruno conflagrations. Going all electric has problems that must be addressed as many have pointed out here. But sooner or later it has to happen.


Posted by chris
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 28, 2022 at 11:09 am

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Weaning off natural energy is big step....like big quake in 89' black out for hours...powerlines down...and now we have rolling blackouts to conserve energy for emergency situations....every homes, businesses will need back up energy(generators)..electrifying gonna cost $$$$$ don't see natural energy dismissing anytime soon


Posted by Concerned
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2022 at 4:37 pm

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There is no need to mandate this. As electricity becomes cheaper and cheaper people will naturally switch to electricity for most needs. I will regret having to switch my fireplaces and grill back to wood and charcoal from natural gas but a small thing.


Posted by Local news junkie
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 1, 2022 at 6:41 am

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Several years ago, I spent thousands of dollars to help the environment by switching my wood-burning fireplace to a gas insert. Now what do I do? Are fireplaces outlawed?


Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 11:55 am

Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

I am one of those residents for whom transitioning to an all electric house will be extremely expensive -- most likely well over $50K. How can that be? Well, to start, we would have to add another electric panel because our current capability is not sufficient. That is not as simple as it sounds, nor is installing solar. We will have to tear out walls and/or get a new roof. Like many in Palo Alto, we are land-rich with homes supposedly worth a lot, but relatively cash poor. I think the City Council could do better -- like think ahead about real people and what they can and cannot do. Of course, we can always sell our home and move away -- would have to lower the price of our home to accommodate the new requirements -- but it is looking more and more desirable all the time. The Council could have done something more reasonable and workable and still effective -- like mandating this for commercial buildings and government offices, and giving residential customers for whom this requirement is financially difficult a bit more time, or subsidies to help out. I wish it didn't now cost $100K to run for City Council -- rules out a lot of less wealthy people from running so we will end up with people financially out of touch with many residents.


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Nov 4, 2022 at 1:30 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

@Palo Alto Resident, this is where the city separates the wheat from the chaff. It's time to look for affordable housing. Start in North Dakota and work your way south. I've read so many revealing comments in the past month at this publication to describe peoples' reasons for living here, I am already hip deep and need a ventilator soon. From what I'm reading, the reasoning goes like this: "birds of a feather flock together". That excludes other cliches like: (1) A rising tide lifts all boats. (2) We're all in this together. (3)But for the grace of God go I. The gist is, if you have to ask how much it costs to go carbon neutral, you can't afford it. The city will eventually ban all types of gas except their home brewed stuff. Don't know how Stanford will survive, seeing they used gas powered generators to survive our September heat wave outages. Oh wait, I *do* know how they will survive. They will get an exemption. And it won't be free, but it won't be something you or I could be eligible for. This is like the final episode of The Hunger Games.

@Native, everyone should be required to listen to the LONG version of Living For The City every day. Nothing has changed since Stevie wrote that song. It's one of my faves, along with You Haven't Done Nothin'. If nothing changes, nothing changes.


Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 4, 2022 at 7:12 pm

maguro_01 is a registered user.

@MyFeelz, Well, at least you are frank about so many of your neighbors being chaff in your view. Very Right/Libertarian, though, IMO, all of us should not feel that secure these unpredictable days.

Benjamin Franklin said in 1776 that "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2022 at 8:12 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

@Palo Alto Resident. I am finacially out of touch w/ the current rank(er) & file CC. Mostly too, it's an inane city manager who damaged SJ before embarking on running PA down, hiding in & under his 7th Floor office desk during CoV2. Heartbreaking is witnessing the ugliness of our city, run yuk yuks is the unattractiveness of all them smugly sitting on their duffs assuming all control over everything they know so very little about. The CC & its highest paid staff are toothless Gumby's, with one leg shorter than the other, bending every which way the money blows. Totally void of anything meaningful or worthy or creative or cohesive ... Especially disregard the poor, the elderly, people of color, hunger, desperation. CC vote with fear of losing "their base". And boy do CC rise to win over everything & everyone in their path of power and greed. sickening was Burt's dis-endorsement of Lisa Forrsell -- I am conjecturing here but I think the Palo Alto Neighborhood in PACKs (neighborhood Home Owner Associations) got after him BIG time. Residential One Zones are freaking out -- and they are losing with near 50% of renters residing here.

I hope renters really get out the vote this Midterm because really it's a "life-term" we are voting on. I was contemplating not only a shear deep lack of affordability the very thought of the dream of opening a small biz here cannot be realized because there is absolutely no support from our city leaders to do so, like low interest loans for a start-up idea. Even getting small artist space at cheaper rent at Cubbereley is madness with all 25 pages of application, validations, affidavits, references, credit checks -- just insane. Do artists live & thrive here? Writers, poets, musicians? When was the last time a poetry reading took place at a book store or cafe? There is no cultural identity in PA, unless embedded in a micro chip or quoted in a thread of emails pushing everyone around, life for real, was once upon a time. @myfeelz...Sigh


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2022 at 5:47 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

@maguro_1 someday possibly sooner than expected, the 1% may be asking the 99% for survival tips.

@Native you have your finger on the pulse of local politics and I only wish you had more power to create real change. PA and Santa Clara county has been moving the name cards around for so long people expect it. If they see a familiar name they vote for it without even knowing what the candidate stands for. Last election they were pro, this election they're anti, whichever way the wind blows, to find their name at the table and sit down and do more nothing. Deja vu-ing me til my eyes bleed. "Foregone Conclusion" isn't one of the names on the ballots, officially.


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