House committee hears Dye bill to reduce consumer power costs, ensure grid reliability

A bill that would seek to reduce electrical and natural gas costs to all Washington consumers by 50% by the year 2030 was heard Friday in the House Environment and Energy Committee.

Authored by Rep. Mary Dye, House Bill 1130, also known as the Real Solutions for Consumer Affordability and Reliable Energy Supply (CARES), would also set a state goal to reduce all power outages in Washington by 50% by the year 2030.

“State government continues to adopt energy policies that make it more expensive for the average citizen to live in Washington. Finding an affordable place to live, paying your power bill, what it costs for a tank of gas is far more stressful for our working poor and marginalized communities in our state,” said Dye. “These stressors are building as we increase the cost of energy by policies focused on climate, without consideration of those least able to bear the burden of these cost increases. It is taking a high toll on our citizens.”

The bill directs the Attorney General's Public Counsel Office to provide policy recommendations, including additional legislation, of how existing law and resources could help to achieve the lower cost objectives and power outage reductions.

“It is time we consider our low-income residents and our most vulnerable, who struggle to pay their utility bills. This includes those with health conditions who are at risk during power outages, heat waves and cold weather,” added Dye. “This is about making electricity affordable and reliable again to the public in Washington state.

“We need a framework for achieving these policy goals — a framework that shows we care about reducing the total cost of people's power bills, reducing the number of people in need of energy assistance, reducing the duration and number of power outages, and reducing the energy burden for low-income and disadvantaged residents,” Dye told the committee. “This bill sets that framework to meet these objectives, and improve the health and quality of life for all Washingtonians through these components.”

The report would provide an economic impact analysis on economic benefits of reduced power costs that would provide consumers with additional disposable income. The bill also directs collection of data on the number of electric and gas utility customers with accounts delinquent more than 60 days and the total dollar average of delinquency. In addition, it requires an evaluation of the impact of vehicle charging costs on the statewide household and business energy burden.

“It's time that we restore balance in our state's energy policy by complementing our existing clean energy laws with a commitment to leadership in affordable and reliable energy. This bill would achieve that balance,” said Dye.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov