Lawmakers force WA families to go all-electric, hand them $40,000 bill

Lawmakers force WA families to go all-electric, hand them $40,000 bill

In the dead of the night on Tuesday, Washington lawmakers passed a bill that will be a disaster for Washingtonians, particularly low-income families. HB 1589 effectively bans natural gas, forces families to pay tens of thousands of dollars to adjust their homes, and could lead to energy bill increases upwards of $206 each month.

It’s hard to overstate the impact this will have on Washington families – or for that matter the willful irresponsibility of lawmakers impressing this on their constituents in the manner in which they did.

The bill allows Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to shut off natural gas service for its 800,000 customers, forcing them to convert their homes to all-electric. “Make no mistake. This bill will ultimately ban natural gas for all current and future Puget Sound Energy customers,” said Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) Executive Vice President Greg Lane.

Worse yet, it includes no support for families to make that transition, which can cost between $30,000 and $74,000! BIAW estimates the average cost is $40,000.

As if that wasn’t enough, it allows PSE to raise rates – significantly – as well.

In a report from the Washington State Department of Commerce, nearly two-thirds of families said they struggle to pay energy bills – and that was last year, before rising inflation rates made things exponentially worse.

How are those families supposed to find $40,000? How can they afford energy bills that are hundreds of dollars more expensive each month?

Our lawmakers already know Washingtonians are strapped for cash. Because of the Governor’s cap and trade program, we saw a $.50/gal spike in gas prices, making them amongst the highest in the nation. In response, more than 400,000 Washingtonians signed an initiative to repeal it.

This session, lawmakers were required to prioritize that initiative above everything except the state budget. They could’ve immediately passed it into law, like they did three others. Instead, they completely ignored it, refusing to even a single hearing. But they did find time to double-down and ram through legislation like HB 1589.

In a way, perhaps we should be a little grateful for the lawmakers voting for this – at least they’re transparent on where their priorities lie.

They are perfectly fine funding the costly march to protect the climate on the backs of working-class Washingtonians. To our politicians, going electric is more important than trivial matters like families struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes, or be able to afford gas to get to work.

There is a way to go about advancing climate-friendly policy in a way that is responsible and affordable for Washington families. This is not it.


Here is HB 1589’s roll call for the final House vote:

Yeas: 50 Nays: 45 Absent: 0 Excused: 2

  • Voting yea: Representatives Alvarado, Bateman, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chopp, Cortes, Davis, Doglio, Donaghy, Duerr, Entenman, Farivar, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Fosse, Goodman, Gregerson, Hackney, Kloba, Leavitt, Lekanoff, Macri, Mena, Nance, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Peterson, Pollet, Ramel, Ramos, Reed, Reeves, Riccelli, Ryu, Santos, Senn, Simmons, Slatter, Stearns, Stonier, Street, Taylor, Thai, Wylie, Jinkins
  • Voting nay: Representatives Abbarno, Barkis, Barnard, Caldier, Chambers, Chapman, Cheney, Christian, Connors, Corry, Couture, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Goehner, Graham, Griffey, Harris, Hutchins, Jacobsen, Klicker, Kretz, Low, Maycumber, McClintock, Morgan, Mosbrucker, Orcutt, Robertson, Rude, Rule, Sandlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Shavers, Springer, Steele, Stokesbary, Tharinger, Timmons, Volz, Walen, Walsh, Waters, Ybarra
  • Excused: Representatives Chandler, Wilcox

And here it is for the Senate:

Yeas: 27 Nays: 22 Absent: 0 Excused: 0

  • Voting yea: Senators Billig, Cleveland, Conway, Dhingra, Frame, Hansen, Hasegawa, Hunt, Kauffman, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, Nguyen, Nobles, Pedersen, Randall, Robinson, Saldaña, Salomon, Shewmake, Stanford, Trudeau, Valdez, Wellman, Wilson, C.
  • Voting nay: Senators Boehnke, Braun, Dozier, Fortunato, Gildon, Hawkins, Holy, King, MacEwen, McCune, Mullet, Muzzall, Padden, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Torres, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Warnick, Wilson, J., Wilson, L.


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