Families and businesses throughout Kansas City have faced some unprecedented challenges over the past few years. While there are certainly still issues on the horizon, it’s beginning to feel like we’re on the path to recovery from the pandemic. More than ever, we need elected officials to adopt policies that will support this recovery and unlock the Kansas City community’s potential.
But certain elements of the city’s recently proposed Climate Protection & Resiliency Plan may hinder economic opportunity in Kansas City. The plan aims to make Kansas City more sustainable and help the city combat the impacts of climate change. Many features of the plan will make the community more environmentally friendly and modernize aspects of the region. However, the proposed shift to electricity as the main energy source is concerning, as it will negatively impact those in Kansas City who depend on natural gas for affordable, reliable and clean energy and that includes your local neighborhood grocery store.
Local grocery stores have been a reliable community resource for generations, working hard to keep Kansas City families fed throughout natural disasters, taking extra measures to protect consumers during the pandemic, and being a steady presence throughout other crises.
The Missouri Grocers Association is a statewide nonprofit proudly representing more than 1,300 independent retailers, wholesalers, distributors, brokers, suppliers, vendors and manufacturers that make grocery stores possible. Our membership includes businesses of all sizes and from diverse industries, which require a variety of resources to meet their needs.
Natural gas is a critical resource for many of our members, used to cook meals in their kitchens, heat stores during the winter and operate machinery at plants. Business owners know what works best to effectively manage their operations. That’s why they often choose natural gas—because electricity is more expensive for heating, and gas is more reliable with much less frequent outages.
Moreover, a move to electrification would require replacing natural gas-powered appliances and machinery for many of our members, a costly expenditure that not every business will be able to make. Even if they can afford electric appliances, they’re then faced with potentially higher bills and less reliable service. This proposal simply won’t be manageable for so many small businesses in our community. And that’s why we believe that both electricity and natural gas should be available energy sources going forward.
Grocers and their suppliers play an important role in feeding communities, and they need access to the right resources needed to continue doing their job. While debating the proposed Climate Protection & Resiliency Plan, we hope that local officials will amend the plan to consider the benefits of a balanced energy policy—one that supports the ability of Kansas City’s residents and businesses to continue using efficient, affordable natural gas as part of a sustainable future.