The Bulletin Board

New law bans mandates on how New Hampshire residents heat their homes  

By: - August 30, 2021 4:49 pm
Solar panels on the roof of a brick building

Republicans say Senate Bill 86 protects consumer choice when it comes to home heating. (Dave Cummings | New Hampshire Bulletin)

There wasn’t talk in New Hampshire of forcing residents to use green energy to heat their homes, but the Legislature decided to ban that sort of heating mandate anyway.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed off on Senate Bill 86 last week, preemptively prohibiting municipalities from enacting any kind of mandate that would dictate what kind of home heating product residents have to purchase.

Republicans are celebrating a measure they say protects consumer choice.

“Now that SB 86 is law, state and local governments cannot make rules that restrict the ability of a person or a business to select the energy product they want to use or the heating system that works best for them,” said New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican and the bill’s prime sponsor, in a written statement after the bill was signed into law.

While elected officials and energy experts in New Hampshire say there hasn’t been talk of enacting the kind of green energy mandates the new law prohibits in New Hampshire, other states, such as California, are moving such proposals forward. Last month, California regulators changed the building code requiring new buildings – both homes and commercial buildings – to include solar panels, batteries, and the wiring for electrical heat pumps instead of heaters that use natural gas. The policy is aimed at eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.