As Massachusetts works to zero-out planet warming emission by 2050, one big question has been how the state will wean itself off of natural gas and heat the majority of homes and buildings with electricity instead. One big obstacle has been gas utilities, which make money off of maintaining existing pipelines and building new infrastructure.

Now, after more than three years of considering the future of the natural gas industry in Massachusetts and what role it can play in the state’s efforts to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the Department of Public Utilities issued an order Wednesday meant to signal to gas utilities that it won’t be business as usual going forward.

“I really do think that this is potentially the most transformative climate decision in Massachusetts history,” said Kyle Murray, a senior Massachusetts advocate with Acadia Center, a climate advocacy and research group. “The department really looked at everything and delivered a decision that is well thought out [and follows] the science and data and the available information.”

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