A bill in Washington state is causing a stir as it could lead to Puget Sound Energy cutting off natural gas for residents and businesses. The original bill, introduced by Rep. Beth Doglio, sought to ban PSE from providing natural gas to new buildings from July 2023. The revised version that passed in the House removes the natural gas ban and ownership percentage guarantee. Now, a new proposed amendment may require PSE to provide alternative non-emitting energy sources, which could further complicate matters.
Supporters of the bill argue that it will help PSE meet the state’s carbon reduction goals, but critics claim that it could end up being a burden on consumers. Matt Miller of PSE insists that the bill is just a planning tool, while lobbyist Brent Ludeman argues that it would be a “regressive tax on consumers.” Brandon Housekeeper, representing the Alliance of Western Energy Consumers, expressed concern about how the bill consolidates PSE’s planning under the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, potentially impacting ratepayers.
Washington bill would allow PSE to end natural gas service for existing customers https://t.co/49BWov5mBb
— The Center Square Washington (@TCSWashington) February 1, 2024
Scott Hazelgrove of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties pointed to PSE’s struggles during a recent cold snap, suggesting that the company may not be able to provide reliable utilities under the current system. The bill is currently under consideration in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology, leaving the fate of natural gas in Washington hanging in the balance. Democrats in power seem determined to push through regulations that could leave Washingtonians in the cold, but at least for now, there is still hope for those who rely on natural gas to keep the lights on and the heat flowing.