Washington State House Democrats


Morris bill prepping utilities for the future of energy production passes House

OLYMPIA (WA) – Energy production and its distribution are evolving quickly, and utilities need to prepare for that change, according to Washington state House Rep. Jeff Morris.

A bill (HB 1233) sponsored by Morris (D-Mt. Vernon) to start that process passed off the House floor today with a nearly unanimous vote of 96-2.

Morris, chair of the House Technology and Economic Development Committee, says distributive energy systems such as solar and co-generation facilities that produce electricity closer to where it is actually used are becoming more popular within a utility’s production portfolio. While energy produced by coal-fired plants, hydroelectric dams and the like are still the main energy suppliers, times are changing.

“We have to start preparing for the future so that not only consumers, but also our utilities, are in a position to take advantage of distributive energy,” Morris said. “More energy efficient appliances, electric vehicles, solar electricity and other technologies are reducing the need for traditional power sources. Since utilities now bill based on the volume of electricity sold, revenue to reinvest in new infrastructure is dwindling.”

The bill asks utilities to regularly review and report their efforts to include distributive energy as part of their planning, ensuring a smooth transition with low energy costs as more changes occur. It also requires the state to go through a similar process regarding needed regulatory changes.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.