Prohibiting the Use of Natural Gas in Washington State Updated

By Cindy Alia 1/19/24

Updated 2/26/24

We are pleased to note the Senate Ways and Means committee did not give HB 1589 and executive hearing today.  This means the bill is dead as it did not get passed out of committee to the rules committee or the floor for a vote in time to miss the establshed deadline today for bills from the opposite house to be read on the floor.  This is good news for those who wouold prefer to rely on a combination of natural gas and electricity rather than on electricity only.  Our already over-burdened electric grid would struggle to meet the demands this bill would have required leaving some with limited power and eliminated options.

From the ghost of sessions past, we find that among the  3,389 bills introduced in 2023-2024, an additional highly objectional bill from 2023 has been re-introduced and placed on the House Floor Calendar for a vote.  The bill is 1589, Imaginatively and misleadingly entitled Supporting Washington's clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future.  The bill has a senate companion numbered 5562.  In this initial phase of passing the bill, the house is doing the heavy lifting and the senate has not gone past re-introduction, however the status of the bill has it sitting in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means making it easy to pass to the floor for a vote.  

If you disagree with a ban on natural gas which would place more reliance on the already stressed and very expensive electric grid call 800 562 6000 and make your opinion clear to the good people who will take your message and pass it on to your representatives and senator.

This would be the effect of the bill should it pass:

Prohibition on Gas Service Expansion. A gas company that serves more than 500,000 retail gas customers in Washington on June 30, 2023, is prohibited from furnishing or supplying gas service, instrumentalities, and facilities to any commercial or residential location that did not receive gas service or file an application for gas service as of June 30, 2023. 

A gas company serving more than 500,000 retail gas customers in Washington on June 30, 2023: must file a tariff, before November 1, 2023, to offer rebates, incentives, or other inducements to purchase energy-efficient electric appliances and equipment to customers who are using a non-electric fuel source;

• may not offer, beginning January 1, 2024, any form of rebate, incentive, or other inducement to purchase any natural gas appliance or equipment; however, this requirement does not include electric heat pumps with natural gas backups until January 1, 2031.

• After June 30, 2023, a gas company is exempt from the statutory obligation to furnish gas to any person or corporation who applies for gas service. 

This bill forces the abandonment of natural gas and assumes electric energy sources are the only way to "decarbonize"  rather than to focus on the efficient use of all energy sources.  The approach will cause greater stresses on the already over-loaded electic grid, and would leave many without a viable source of power during periods of time when electricity becomes unavailable for a variety of reasons, including brown outs, black outs, and storm damage to infrastructure.  

Representative Mary Dye is fighting hard to lessen the damage that will be caused by this bill by offering a floor amendment you can read here.

This bill has received the lowest possible rating from CAPR.  


January 20, 2024