Lekanoff plans interim work to address low-income, energy-burdened households

OLYMPIA – Following passage of House Bill 1589 , Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D-Anacortes), former Vice Chair and member of the Environment & Energy Committee, is announcing her planned work with the Washington State Community Action Partnership (WSCAP) to jointly coordinate a comprehensive policy platform on the needs of overburdened, underrepresented, and low-to-middle income communities in the clean energy transition.

The Washington State Community Action Partnership is an association of 30 community and volunteer driven organizations that assist 500,000 low-income Washingtonians every year with housing, energy, food, education, legal, and other services in a shared mission to bring forward unheard and forgotten voices.

House Bill 1589, sponsored by Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia) and which now heads to the governor’s desk for signature, aims to help address the current trend of more and more Washingtonians switching to electricity, by giving Puget Sound Energy (PSE) tools to ensure that the cost to maintain the gas infrastructure is not spread between fewer people every year, asking constituents who can least afford it to pay even more. This is an important step that will provide some protection to ratepayers, yet more should be done to support low- and moderate-income energy users.

The intent of the work planned for the interim is to ensure the transition to a clean energy future does not disproportionately impact overburdened, underrepresented, and low- and middle-income families. In coordination with WSCAP, Rep. Lekanoff plans to develop a policy platform to reduce energy burden and fully include these communities in the green energy transition. These convenings will also address the broader opportunity and resource gaps in these communities: jobs and workforce, safety, health care, education, social wellbeing, and more.

“I am committed to carrying those voices who have been left behind and tangled under the priorities of those who cannot fathom the basis of their wellbeing; as I have been one of those voices,” said Rep. Lekanoff. “Together, we can share a policy platform that best represents us, and in a manner that protects us from the economic injustices that fall upon a million Washingtonians who struggle to make ends meet. We all want to survive in this great state, we just can no longer allow this to happen on the backs of people who look and sound like me; and we must do so together.”

“Community Action has been working for 60 years to stabilize and equip families and individuals to exit poverty. Our 30 members assist over 100,000 Washingtonians with their utility bills and work alongside low-income communities to provide life-changing services in every corner of Washington,” said Jeff DeLuca, Executive Director of the Washington State Community Action Partnership. “As experts in the intersection of poverty and utility policy, we are so excited to have a partner in Rep. Lekanoff in establishing this table to move these and other priorities forward.”