OLYMPIA — For her first bill as Whatcom’s new state representative, Rep. Sharon Shewmake managed to bring together electricity producers, utilities, and consumer advocates to find common ground on legislation that will help consumers know where their electricity is really coming from.
Shewmake (D-42nd, Bellingham) sponsored House Bill 1428 to improve fuel mix disclosures that are provided by utility companies. Fuel mix disclosures are akin to the ingredients list on a can of processed food, but are currently structured in a way that can make them both vague and difficult for consumers to understand. Shewmake’s goal was to add clarity and transparency to the benefit of all parties.
“Washingtonians clearly value clean energy,” Shewmake said. “But when you turn on your toaster, it’s hard to know what the source of that energy is. You don’t know if the electricity is being generated here in Washington, in British Columbia, or in Arizona. You don’t know if it was produced by wind, coal, hydro, or what. This bill will help utilities keep track of their sources and disclose them in a simple format, and it will help consumers have a better idea of where their electricity is coming from.”
HB 1428 passed the full House on a 96-0 vote Thursday morning (Feb. 14) and now heads to the Senate.