A new report from a prominent business group has found that the cost to consumers of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings by 2030 could be “astronomical.”

The report by the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), whose membership includes hundreds of businesses and business groups including BP plc, Enbridge Inc. and ExxonMobil, found that the ban could cost every household at least $25,600.

“Mayor de Blasio’s natural gas service ban is nothing short of ill-conceived and irresponsible,” said CEA’s Wendy Hijos, New York director. “It will be acutely felt by the poor and those on fixed incomes who disproportionately struggle with higher energy bills and disruptions.”

The CEA report details how the energy ban would affect families depending on appliance models, home configuration, labor, and reliance on natural gas. The group has developed a cost calculator to estimate what a typical New York City household could expect to pay based on open-source consumer data.

Past research from CEA found that the cost to replace only major gas appliances in homes nationwide would be more than $250 billion.

The report comes as more  major cities propose programs to phase out natural gas. Last year, several California cities adopted natural gas bans in any new residential and commercial buildings. Last June the Massachusetts attorney general called for an investigation into phasing out natural gas by 2050 following a series of explosions in the Merrimack Valley.

The report was released following de Blasio’s state of the city address, in which he said that banning fossil fuel hookups would be beneficial for New York by “literally ensuring that our only choice is renewable energy.”

Hijos argued that the gas ban would create more hardships for small businesses and restaurants already struggling from Covid-19 shutdowns. According to Hijos, 92% of New York businesses were unable to pay full rent a few months ago.

“The reality is that New Yorkers need our help to get back on their feet, not impractical energy bans that will only harm those that can least afford it,” Hijos added.

New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Coalition executive director Michelle Hook said the report “injects some much needed reality into the conversation about natural gas bans and the impact it will have on everyday New Yorkers and struggling small businesses. If this trend of ambitious and impractical policy continues, make no mistake, people’s financial health will be in jeopardy. Feel-good legislation is no replacement for practical policies that keep the everyday wellbeing of hard working New Yorkers in mind.”

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