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Senate committee poised to approve natural gas restrictions

February 14, 2024

A Senate committee has scheduled a vote on new natural gas restrictions this week.  HB 1589 affects nearly 800,000 households in six counties in Washington.  Currently served by Puget Sound Energy (PSE), these households could face costly changes should the Legislature approve the bill in its current form.

While the bill continues to change, the language being considered allows PSE to choose when it’s no longer financially beneficial to provide natural gas service to new and existing customers and force customers to use a natural gas alternative. The Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee heard testimony on the bill on Jan. 31. Watch Building Industry Association of Washington lobbyist Brent Ludeman here:

The committee has scheduled a vote on HB 1589 at 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 16.

This bill could mean an increase of up to $206/month above current electrical and natural gas rates for homeowners today. It also burdens homeowners with natural gas stoves, fireplaces, dryers, hot water heaters and furnaces with costly upgrades to all electric appliances – not to mention the added costs of upgrading the home’s electrical capacity to accommodate the extra load.


“The rate increases from this bill would be financially devastating to working families, especially those on fixed incomes,” said Greg Lane, Executive Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW). “Many would be forced to choose between paying for heat or paying for groceries.

“Washington homeowners need energy choice as well as energy security,” he said. “This bill undermines important consumer protections, forcing natural gas customers to pay more than $50,000 if the utility chooses not to continue serving them.”

Why oppose natural gas restrictions?

Natural gas ban legal fight continues

BIAW has also been fighting efforts to restrict natural gas at the State Building Code Council (SBCC) and on the legal front as well.

In February 2023, BIAW and other trade associations, union representatives, businesses and homeowners filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court. This challenge alleges the SBCC violated rulemaking laws in approving energy codes restricting natural gas and propane in new construction.

Facing a federal legal challenge as well, the council voted to delay the codes’ implementation date to March 15, 2024.

BIAW filed new briefs in the Thurston County Superior Court case on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2024.

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