Gov. Kathy Hochul included key provisions from what is known as the HEAT Act in her 2025 state budget, but not the entire piece of legislation.

The bill is intended to limit costs to customers as New York state transitions away from natural gas while protecting them from predatory practices. 

“We want more of an emphasis on what we’re calling the affordability part,” said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, who co-sponsors the bill in the Assembly.

She said she was pleasantly surprised to see an end to a requirement known as the 100-foot rule in the governor’s executive budget.

It requires utilities to supply gas to any customer who wants it with the cost falling on ratepayers if they are within 100 feet of an existing line.

“I was very pleased that the governor has included a key portion of the HEAT Act in her budget, and it really opens up the conversation again,” she said.

Fahy hopes the conversation can lead to the ultimate passage of the entire bill.

What’s missing? A key provision that would ensure ratepayers don’t pay more as customers transition from natural gas. It would cap utility costs at 6% of income for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers to prevent utility companies from hiking rates.

Fahy says she’d like to go a step further and protect more New Yorkers.  

“We need to not just make this affordable for low income, but also middle-income families,” she said.

Republican Assembly Member Phil Palmesano is ranking member on the Energy Committee. 

He said he has significant concerns about transitioning away from natural gas falling and the cost on homeowners.

“Even the six percent cap that is mentioned, there is no mention of who is going to pay for it beyond the cap,” he said.

Citing NYISO’s recent 10-year outlook, he says he also has concerns about reliability when it comes to the electrical grid, and instead encourages a “portfolio” of resources, including renewable energy, while retaining some use of natural gas. 

“It seems like we’re moving full speed ahead to stop any new natural gas power plants from coming online, reliable sources of energy,” he said. “We can’t shut down reliable sources of energy before we have this new technology online, but it doesn’t exist.”

Fahy argued that reliability is built into the Public Service Commission’s transition plan, and the frequency of severe weather events and related costs add a layer of urgency to spending the money necessary up front to make a reliable transition, one that doesn’t shift the cost onto rate payers who rely on uninterrupted service.

“People who are in Buffalo or in the North Country, these weather-related disasters also mean you need reliable heat and light sources. So reliability is a first and foremost function of the PSC,” she said.

The bill passed in the state Senate last session but did not pass in the Assembly. Speaker Carl Heastie has been the focus of this session’s lobbying efforts from advocates and some lawmakers.

When asked his thoughts his office told Spectrum News 1 in a statement:

"As always, we discuss all issues with our members. No one has better record when it comes to protecting the environment than Speaker Heastie and the members of the Assembly Majority."