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Menlo Park considers an "electrification concierge"

Uploaded: Apr 17, 2022
There are many easy, fast, and cost-effective ways for each of us to make a big dent in our emissions. Think modernizing our diets, electrifying our transportation, and tailoring our consumption, for starters. But switching our homes from gas to efficient electric heat is not always easy or fast or cost-effective. Some changes are no problem. It is pretty straight-forward to swap a gas tank water heater for an electric heat pump water heater. You may even find an installer who will do it for a fair price. It is also pretty straight-forward to install a mini split for efficient A/C and then use it in the winter as a heater. Many homes already have these.

But fully electrifying all of our homes? That is a big lift. It can be a hassle as a homeowner to understand the options or find a contractor. As a renter you may feel powerless. And even when it is quick and easy, it can be expensive. Although many emissions-reducing measures pay off immediately (e.g., flying less) or over time (e.g., driving an EV), home retrofits may not. In our area of high construction costs and relatively temperate weather, rebates and incentives are needed to keep even the most efficient electric heating appliances in the mix. (1)

Our mid-Peninsula cities are struggling with this. While some residents are able to do the work and in some cases pay a premium to reduce their emissions, others are not. Yet 30-40% of our municipal emissions come from buildings. We must make it simpler, more convenient, and less expensive to electrify. Menlo Park is exploring a partnership with a company named BlocPower that promises to do all that and more, with a special focus on low-income households. (2) What might that look like, and what hopes would you have for this partnership?

Over 40% of Menlo Park's emissions come from gas used in buildings. Source: Menlo Park Climate Action Plan Progress Report, 2021

BlocPower was founded by CEO Donnel Baird in New York City in 2014 after he grew frustrated trying to decarbonize buildings during the Obama administration. The work was too slow and too costly. His company aims to deploy intelligent automated analysis, trained technicians, and generous financing to provide “Greener, smarter, healthier buildings for all”. Baird describes their services as a “turnkey electrification program that includes project management, incentive coordination, contractor and equipment procurement, and financing (if desired)”. They aim to reduce the hassle of electrifying by providing expert advice and training a skilled workforce; to speed up the process with automated tools and streamlined permitting; and to reduce the costs by identifying and securing incentives and negotiating discounts on equipment and loans. As an example of the latter, BlocPower recently won a grant to help retrofit 10-12 affordable multi-family housing units in San Luis Obispo with heat pumps. They have proven this model by updating over 1000 buildings to date, mostly in New York City but increasingly across the country.

The BlocMaps tool is designed to analyze buildings and identify the best options for electrifying and/or improving efficiency. The idea is that you type your address into the BlocPower site and it will provide custom guidance for that building, similar in concept to Google’s Project Sunroof. The functionality is limited right now, but the Bezos Earth Fund recently awarded BlocPower a $5.5 million grant to add another 125 million buildings to their data set and ensure that owners across America have easier access to a sustainability plan for their building.

Workforce training is a core element of Baird’s vision for BlocPower. “In low-income communities, there’s a waste of energy and there’s a waste of human potential,” Baird has said. The company augments the local workforce by training disadvantaged residents in the trades, paying them to attend classes that will set them on a potentially lifelong, well-paying career in their local community. BlocPower is proud to have trained over 800 young adults in New York City, paying them $20/hour during their training and ultimately creating over 1000 green jobs in the city.

BlocPower is careful to explain that they are not a contractor and they do not directly employ these or other tradespeople that execute the projects. They are happy to work with all local contractors, though some certifications may be needed for warrantied work. (3) Baird views BlocPower’s role as a “concierge” that helps to coordinate homeowners with contractors, and points out that they need to be flexible. “Every resident is different. You may have a guy or a gal that you like to use in your home…. Another homeowner may have five people come over and ask us ‘Could you review these five?’ Someone else might say ‘I just want you to send me somebody that you trust, that you guys will stand behind, and that the city of Menlo Park feels good about,’ and we can do that…. When you’re talking about decarbonizing hundreds or thousands of buildings, there’s a lot of different scenarios that emerge. Our job is to be a flexible provider of the resources that are needed to make a decision and to implement the project.”

Much of Baird’s focus, and where he sees BlocPower adding the most value, is on retrofitting low-income housing. This work includes not only electrification and energy efficiency, but also lead/mold/asbestos remediation, wifi capability, and more. The low-interest financing comes with a 15-year guarantee and no debt, so it’s low-risk for the households. There is no lien on the building, and BlocPower has in the past done annual inspections that include air filter maintenance, refrigeration checks, and fan adjustments. At the end of 15 years the equipment transfers to the owner. Menlo Park is committed to ensuring that all low-income loans are 0% interest through a combination of government and philanthropic grants.

Menlo Park’s council members asked some good questions in a discussion about this partnership. Councilmember Ray Mueller asked how important it is that BlocPower partner with the city versus do this on its own. BlocPower is a for-profit company (4), and the city takes some risk by putting its “stamp of approval” on the company. Grace Park-Bradbury, the GM for BlocPower in the west, said that a partnership sends an important signal to contractors and equipment providers that Menlo Park’s home electrification market is worth investing in. Environmental Quality Commissioner Angela Evans added that it makes it easier for BlocPower to negotiate better discounts, to staff up, to build their training programs, and to raise capital. Baird also explained that it is very helpful for BlocPower to have access to the city’s permitting system, because they will be processing many permits at once and need to know and modify the status of all of the projects. The City of Ithaca, which recently brought on BlocPower to help electrify its 6,000 buildings, is augmenting its permitting department with 5-7 graduate students to help with the work needed.

Councilmember Drew Combs raised a related concern, namely that granting what amounts to a “preferred vendor” status could be problematic for the City. For example, what if other contractors found that their permits were not moving through as quickly, because (perhaps) some of the permitting staff were paid for by BlocPower? Baird insisted that any improvements they made to permitting would be equally available to all. “From our standpoint, the more market participants that come in to decarbonize Menlo Park, the quicker Menlo Park can decarbonize. There are 1000 other cities across America that need to be decarbonized.” (5) He said that BlocPower would never prohibit the city from developing other public/private partnerships. (6)

Combs also asked whether, given the pressure from the city to electrify and the for-profit nature of BlocPower, residents would be given an opportunity to get independent financial advice about the decision they were making. “If someone’s signing something that obligates them for 15 years, would someone be advising them ‘This is your job stability history, this is the additional debt that you have, and this is how this fits into that whole picture.’ … I don’t want to engage in a situation where we are putting residents in financially precarious situations, where they are taking on financial responsibilities that they really shouldn’t be taking on.” Baird was very receptive to that idea, and said they could explore doing something like that for Menlo Park, though they haven’t done something similar to date.

Vice Mayor Jen Wolosin asked about transparency and reporting frequency, and how to address the risk that landlords will raise rents unfairly in response to doing this work. These are all good questions that can be worked out in the partnership agreement and during the initial multi-year trial period with the city.

BlocPower is beginning to green buildings across America’s urban centers

BlocPower is an ambitious company. They have done projects in 5000 homes in over 1200 buildings, most in New York City, though they have done work in 24 cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Savannah. They believe they can reduce our country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3 to 25 percent in 5 to 10 years. Menlo Park is not the urban core that they normally focus on, but there is certainly plenty of low-income housing on the peninsula that would benefit from BlocPower’s efforts and that represents an important component of our climate goals.

My question for you (readers) is, what would you like to see from an “electrification concierge”, or BlocPower specifically, and what concerns might you have. My short wish list would be:

- I would have BlocPower focus almost exclusively on lower-income housing. It is their sweet spot, where they can provide the most value, and it is an area where we particularly need help. If we are ever to price gas to account for externalities, which I know many here want to do, we have to aggressively and proactively help lower-income households to move away from gas.

- I would look to BlocPower’s training programs and sheer scale of projects to help grow the workforce to help households of all income levels electrify.

- I would particularly look for price transparency from BlocPower, and for BlocPower to help us to formulate a pricing structure that could be used as a basis by anyone looking to electrify. For example, we could begin to get a handle on appropriate equipment and labor costs for various types of HPWH installations. We are currently experiencing something of a “race to the top” in terms of pricing, and we must get control over that if we are to meaningfully accelerate our electrification efforts.

- While BlocPower will be collecting data on the benefits of its projects, in part to qualify for various crediting programs, I would want them to share that data and also publish data on other aspects, such as costs, how long the project took, how satisfied the tenants are after one year, and so forth.

- At some point we will need to have electrification mandates beyond new construction to achieve our emissions goals. That might be something like electrifying on home sale or large remodel, electrifying on appliance replacement, etc. There may need to be exceptions to those mandates, and a foundation that supports BlocPower’s work retrofitting low-income homes might be a great designation for “in lieu” fees for exceptional cases.

A small, wealthy city like Menlo Park is not the target market for BlocPower. But that doesn’t mean it’s a model that won’t work, particularly if we can extend it across the mid-Peninsula. I hope that we can take advantage of the dedication and enthusiasm of many of Menlo Park’s environmental leaders, and much of the Menlo Park city council, to find a way to use BlocPower’s planning and funding strengths, coupled with the strengths of our local building community, to make good headway on one of our most difficult climate goals.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Notes and References
0. The town of Atherton will be hosting an Earth Day Festival in Holbrook-Palmer Park on Saturday, April 23 from 11am - 3pm. Stop by to hear from some terrific speakers, try your hand at electric leaf blower bowling(!), take a spin on an e-bike, and more. Mountain View’s Earth Day festival will be at the same time at the Mountain View Senior Center. Swing by to test-drive an EV, try some vegetarian food (free if you come early), and more. Palo Alto has a number of upcoming events, which you can read about here.

1. High electricity prices don’t help either, though I hope those will be changing soon. Palo Alto already has electricity prices that encourage electrification, but still the temperate weather means the energy use, and so the energy savings, are not especially big.

2. You can find the Menlo Park staff report on BlocPower here, and video of a discussion with City Council here.

3. In Oakland, for example, BlocPower retrofitted homes by working with local company That company did much of the hands-on work, while BlocPower focused on the funding.

4. BlocPower can earn revenue from (for example) financing loans, selling credits they receive for emissions reductions, issuing “Environmental Justice Impact Green Bonds” to investors, and in some cases verifying positive health impacts from the work they are doing.

5. BlocPower has inked a contract with the Department of Energy to provide “technical assistance” to cities across America to reduce their building emissions.

6. The draft partnership agreement does say that Menlo Park would “Endorse the Program Manager as an exclusive procurement entity for the purpose of securing bulk purchasing agreements.” I haven’t received feedback on what this entails or what the purpose is.

Current Climate Data (March 2022)
Global impacts, US impacts, CO2 metric, Climate dashboard

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Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 17, 2022 at 7:57 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I gave up after the phrase "Modernize our Diets". Sorry, but the modern diet of fast food, eating imported food from all over the world, eating out of season, eating processed foods from factories rather than locally sourced ingredients grown on farms and cooked at home.

We should be going back to a time when everyone knew how to cook at home and did so. It doesn't take long to make a meal with simple ingredients at home, much better than going out to get takeout or having it delivered by an Uber. Simple but hearty casseroles, soups, using fresh ingredients or dried and preserved foods don't take very long and can be made in advance or cooked in a crockpot. Learn how to use the timer on the oven rather than a microwave. Have family activities involved in chopping vegetables and mixing then clearing up afterwards as an active family activity.

We should go back to eating to live, rather than living to eat. Food preparation is a life skill. Food is a fuel for our bodies not a status symbol of our ideals or virtue signals. Meat is good for us but should be eaten in moderation not at every meal. Bread should not be full of preservatives that it lasts for a month but should go moldy if not eaten in a day or two. Sugary desserts are for celebrations only and not every day snacks.

Over eating is a big problem. We should stop with this modern diet and go back to basics. Our bodies will be happier for it.

Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 17, 2022 at 8:57 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I got to the seventh paragraph and gave up.

Electrifying??? There were NINE power outages in my neighborhood last week!

Posted by SRB, a resident of St. Francis Acres,
on Apr 17, 2022 at 9:16 am

SRB is a registered user.

One thing to keep in mind is that many buildings in the NorthEast (blocPower's home base) are heated not with gas but with oil Web Link Something to keep in mind when looking at historical savings from BlocPower's program

I like what Bloc Power has done so far, but I am concerned they'll be stretching themselves too thin...and veer away from their initial focus on lower income housing.

Instead of partnering with the cities, maybe establish partnerships with lower income housing providers?

Posted by MichaelB, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 17, 2022 at 9:46 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"At some point we will need to have electrification mandates beyond new construction to achieve our emissions goals. That might be something like electrifying on home sale or large remodel, electrifying on appliance replacement, etc."

At some point this is too much government control/overreach despite the "benefits" that advocates claim. Time to start questioning if "our" emissions goals are realistic, if they are cost effective, and the ulterior motives of the people who want them - if you still want to be a member of a free society with individual freedoms/rights. The state (already having problems with rolling blackouts during peak hours on summer days) has no business forcing someone to spend thousands of dollars on electrification before they can sell/remodel their own home.

Posted by marc665, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 17, 2022 at 10:35 am

marc665 is a registered user.

Fabricated Benefits


Posted by Ronen, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Apr 17, 2022 at 11:39 pm

Ronen is a registered user.

Some of the commenters apparently don't get it. We're in a climate crisis.
That relentless drought? Those months of wildfire smoke? Sea level rise eroding our coasts?
It's all going to get much, much worse unless we act with urgency.

Besides, I can testify from personal experience that electricifcation is fantastic. My induction range is much faster, predictable and easier to clean than my former gas range. My dryer is electric, but you wouldn't know it. My lawn mower and leaf blower are both electric, but they are quiet and have power galore. My electric car? You'll be eating my dust when I press that pedal. Next up, furnace and water heater.

Let's do this!

Posted by Cheryl Schaff, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Apr 18, 2022 at 12:47 pm

Cheryl Schaff is a registered user.

NASA and other climate scientists are so concerned that the world's citizens don't comprehend the catastrophe coming from climate change that last week they chose civil disobedience�"and risk of arrest�"as a means to shout out their urgent, tearful message that "we need to stop funding, drilling for and using all fossil fuels NOW." Climate scientists have been telling us for decades that we're setting humans and all living things on a path to devastation soon. 41% of Menlo Park's emissions come from burning fossil gas (methane) in homes and buildings. Electrification of our home and building appliances (as they wear out) is a natural next step for reducing emissions; not cheap, but a small sacrifice to keep Earth habitable for living things, including US. BlocPower can make that step doable. Let's pay attention to what's happening NOW. Climate change is here in the form of frightening mega droughts, intensifying wildfires, horrific weather events and disruption of essential ecosystems. Let's decide to be responsible and partner with BlocPower ASAP.

Posted by d page, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 18, 2022 at 1:33 pm

d page is a registered user.

I've had personal experience with Blocpower (last year) in the Northeast. I'm sorry to say it was NOT a good experience. This was despite the fact that I knew someone who was working in their NYC office!

I hope people in Menlo Park will read what I'm posting before they commit to any kind of contract with Blocpower.

At the least they should be very skeptical of any claims made by Blocpower!

Blocpower seems to have been involved with a few projects where heat pumps were installed at low-income buildings (thereby getting rid of fossil-fuel heating systems) around NYC.

In my experience they were over-staffed or underpaid or inexperienced or all of the above. I really tried to engage with their staff to assist a low income family that uses an old heating oil system. I should have given up on their excuses and delays sooner, but the person I knew (who is no longer with them) told me to be extra patient.

Eventually, Blocpower did make an offer, but there was little explanation of what they would provide (or when or how, etc). The low-income family and I finally gave up on Blocpower. I don't know how they deal with financial matters, but I wouldn't trust the organization with my money. Apparently, they are a kind of broker between contractors and homeowners.

Sherry, I hope you can pass along my posting to Menlo Park officials.

The City of Palo Alto hired its own "Home Efficiency Genie" several years back. This person works for the City (city staff) and was VERY helpful to us when we went through house-electrification work here. Menlo Park would benefit from looking at Palo Alto's example.

Posted by Michael, a resident of Downtown,
on Apr 18, 2022 at 6:51 pm

Michael is a registered user.

We will welcome any and all of your "mandates" with a big, fat class action lawsuit. Your climate alarmism is the biggest tax on the poor in history, creating incredible inequality, job loss, hunger, and poverty. Your elite "vanity" projects are absolutely meaningless, as China builds new coal burning plants. Your DELUSIONAL projects and climate religion/cult are not wanted here. Educate yourself. Stop your virtue signaling. Work on plastic, a REAL issue.

Posted by Menlo+Voter., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Apr 18, 2022 at 7:42 pm

Menlo+Voter. is a registered user.

Menlo Park doesn't need a concierge, they need to pay my PG&E bill if I ever change to electric water and home heating. Electricity cost more to heat water and heat homes than gas. Not to mention the recovery rate for electric water heaters is abysmal when compared to gas. And electric heat pumps often require a heat strip to provide enough heat. That's like turning on your electric dryer in terms of power use. And how is an already overloaded grid going to carry all this extra load? All electric power is a pipe dream.

Posted by Enough, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Apr 19, 2022 at 9:38 am

Enough is a registered user.

This does not make sense to me. BlocPower is a for profit company and if they offer a good service let them drum up their own business. Having Menlo Park endorse them is a bad idea. If they have get in trouble for arranging shoddy work, go bankrupt, take advantage of low income homeowners, etc. Menlo Park could be liable, why take that risk for a company that is there to make a profit?

I am also curious about Wolosin's comment: "Vice Mayor Jen Wolosin asked about transparency and reporting frequency, and how to address the risk that landlords will raise rents unfairly in response to doing this work." If the landlord has to pay to have this work done that why would raising rent to cover that work be unfair? Why is Wolosin so anti-landlord? It seems like she would be happy forcing landlord to spend money but prevent them from recouping that investment.

Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 19, 2022 at 11:24 am

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

What a terrific variety of comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I add a couple of my own below…

@SRB: Great comment. You know, I didn’t mention the savings in my blog because I agree with you that it won’t translate to a very different climate and energy landscape. The value here will be different. I also agree re the concern about being stretched thin. @dpage mentions a related problem as well, which is helpful. I followed up with some people who are sponsoring this effort, and they are aware of this concern and say they will actively be looking for problems, proactively soliciting feedback, and are considering setting up a backstop mechanism for problems (e.g., higher-than-expected utility bills, incompleted work, etc). I think that is the right approach for the trial period. They seem committed to helping BlocPower to make this successful, rather than just sitting back and seeing how it goes. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

@Bystander: Oh geez, I love your comment, and I’m so sorry that my use of the phrase “modernizing our diets” prevented you from reading the rest of the post! Argh. I will try to be more specific in the future. Just to clarify, what I meant by “modern” was basically “more plant-based”, but I was tired of using that phrase so went with something else that might sound more appealing. It backfired!I When I used the term “modernize”, I was thinking not about where we are but where we will be in the future with our diet, where we have to be to make better use of our land and water supplies imo. Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful comment.

@MichaelAustin: Well, you made it further than @Bystander did :) You make a great point about electrification. FWIW, I distinguish between two types of electrical “situations”. There are some houses that are not infrequently subject to multi-day outages, for example because they live in the PSPS areas (power is shut off on fire-prone days). I would not recommend that those houses electrify. Many homes there already have generators, and microgrids are being built in many of those areas. Those will help, but electrification imo can be a stretch without a big solar and battery system to ensure reliability during PSPS events. The vast majority of homes are also subject to outages -- mylar balloons, squirrels, wind storms. My take on electrifying these homes is different because these outages tend to be short (e.g., 1-8 hours), and the impact of lights going out tends to be bigger than that of the hot water going out. You know, it’s funny, so many people put in those tankless water heaters, which do not work at all during outages, unlike tank water heaters, which generally work just fine. So they don't seem to think the outages are a big deal. And many people don’t even know that their furnaces have stopped working during outages. (Most gas furnaces these days require electricity to run.) There are exceptions for sure. It’s harder in really cold areas, for example. But I think when you look at the length and frequency of outages in most homes, electrification is no problem at all. Just my 2c. I do think we need much greater transparency around these outages, though, so that we can hold utilities accountable. Nine power outages in one neighborhood seems like a lot, and hopefully they can figure out what’s going on!

@MichaelB, @Michael, @Ronen, @Cheryl: It’s great that you all weighed in on this. It’s important to figure out where the line is between “realist” and “alarmist”, because that determines what sort of action we should take. @Ronen points to problems that we are seeing here, today, in California -- persistent drought, large wildfires, and eroding coasts -- and suggests that we take warming seriously. @Cheryl points to scientists being so concerned about the future that they are engaging in civil disobedience in an attempt to be heard. @MichaelB questions whether mandates are cost-effective or emissions goals realistic, and wonders about the ulterior motives of people promoting them. He also doubts that our grid is robust enough to support electrification, given recent statewide rolling blackouts. @Michael does more of a rant, making accusations of delusion, vanity, meaninglessness, and threatens a lawsuit. Hmm. (BTW, crazy coincidence that all three writers from Pleasanton are named Michael??)

If you don’t “believe in” climate change, it does seem like electrifying homes is crazy. Even if you “believe in” it, it is entirely reasonable to say building electrification retrofits are not cost-effective. They aren't in many cases. The problem as I see it is that letting things run their course is even more expensive, given the impacts, some of which Ronen mentions. That is why the state is providing rebates and incentives for electrifying. It’s interesting to see how insurance companies are increasingly accounting for those impacts. As one local example, Foster City has started building a large levee around the city to protect it from sea-level rise. On the one hand, that sounds nuts. It also costs $60M or so. On the other hand, over 80% of the residents voted for it, in part because otherwise the insurance companies were going to dramatically raise everyone’s home insurance due to the city being in a flood zone. So -- realist? Or alarmist? And is peoples’ perception of that line moving?

@MenloVoter makes a few points, saying that (1) electric heat is more expensive than gas heat, (2) heat pump water heaters heat slower than gas, (3) heat pump heaters sometimes have to resort to very inefficient resistant heat, and (4) the grid is going to struggle to support the load. Honestly, these are all great points. Here’s my take. (1) Electric heat is often more expensive than gas heat. It depends on the relative energy prices and the relative efficiencies of the appliances. Palo Altans are lucky that way, because their electricity is cheaper than surrounding areas. It is at least break-even there. But it is absolutely the case that electricity rates need to come down relative to gas rates to better motivate this switch. The CPUC is working on that. In the meantime, do the math and see how it works out for your home and how that aligns with your priorities. (2) Heat pump water heaters do heat slower than gas. But how fast do you need your water heater to heat up? You can do the math (or your plumber can), and in nearly all cases a 65-gallon HPWH is just fine. But you can get an 80-gallon if needed. I did hear from a few plumbers, who refer to some bathrooms as “human carwashes” given how much (hot) water they use, saying that in very large houses they have installed more than one HPWH. I heard of one house in Los Altos Hills that had three (!). But one is plenty for most normal houses, and you can use the specs to do the math for your needs. (3) Heat pump heaters do sometimes have to resort to resistance heat, for example when it is very cold or when the demand is very high. The specs for heat pump water heaters actually include that when they report on efficiency. Our climate is so temperate that it’s almost an ideal place to use heat pumps, as long as they are appropriately sized for your needs (so they aren’t resorting to resistance heat more than expected). Finally, re (4), there is a ton of work going to expand the capacity and resilience of the grid. I’ve written about that. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s clear that the state is gearing up for electrification. Remember that shifting load away from peak periods also makes a big difference. So, I think these are good points, and show that MenloVoter has taken the time to learn about this area, which I appreciate.

Anyway, thanks for the terrific comments.

Posted by MP Father, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Apr 25, 2022 at 10:43 pm

MP Father is a registered user.

I support providing incentives for and requiring electrification with new builds and major remodels but agree with other commenters that it is dangerous to align with a single company as it suggests favoritism and is potential a liability for the city. Also, as many wealthy residents grapple with the cost of going electric, I seriously question the logic of initially targeting low-income residents who I suspect have much more immediate needs than going electric. This seems like a potentially expensive strategy that would be doomed to fail. I suggest targeting other residents first.

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