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House passes HB 1589, clearing path for electrification, energy rate hikes

March 6, 2024

Despite constitutional questions and widespread objections, the House of Representatives approved HB 1589 at 2 a.m. this morning. The bill clears the path for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to force its 800,000 natural gas customers to convert their homes to all-electric and raises energy rates for all in the process.

“Make no mistake. This bill will ultimately ban natural gas for all current and future Puget Sound Energy customers,” said BIAW Executive Vice President Greg Lane.

What does electrification mean?

“Do you prefer to cook with natural gas? You will no longer have that option,” he said. “Do you rely on a natural gas fireplace when the electricity goes out? Now you will have no source for heat. Does your house have a natural gas furnace? Now you will have to pay to convert your entire system to electricity — at a cost of $40,000 to $50,000 per household.

“And if you pay a utility bill to Puget Sound Energy, your rates will increase dramatically, both for natural gas and electricity,” he said. “In fact, your rates are likely to more than double. Live on a low or fixed income? How are you going to afford utility bills that double? Rent your house or apartment? Your rents are going to increase directly due to this bill.

“All of these added costs for PSE customers are to achieve carbon reductions for our state that will be barely measurable,” he said. “Passing a bill that has significant constitutional questions like this in the dead of night while much of Washington was below freezing demonstrates how little the legislative majority cares about the people of Washington.

Unnecessary, unreasonable and cruel

“These added costs are unnecessary,” he said. “They are unreasonable. And they are cruel.

“BIAW will be vigilant on all fronts to continue to pursue affordable and accessible energy choice for all the people of Washington,” he concluded.

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