Rep. Shewmake’s bill adding clarity and transparency to utility bills signed into law

OLYMPIA – In one of her first efforts as Whatcom’s new state representative, Rep. Sharon Shewmake brought together power producers, utilities, and consumer advocates to find common ground on legislation to help consumers know the source of the electricity that powers their households and businesses. The result was House Bill 1428, and Tuesday afternoon in Olympia Shewmake stood beside Gov. Jay Inslee as he signed that bill into law.

Shewmake’s (D-42nd, Bellingham) bill, which earned unanimous approval in both the House and Senate, will improve the “fuel-mix disclosures” that are already provided by utility companies. These fuel-mix disclosures are comparable to the ingredients list on a can of processed food, but not nearly as understandable.  Shewmake’s goal was to add clarity and transparency to the benefit of all parties.

“Washingtonians have shown time again that we value clean energy and a healthy environment,” Shewmake said. “We often make choices in our lives based, at least in part, on those considerations. But when we use an electric device it’s difficult, if not impossible, to really know how that power was generated and where it came from.

“Was it produced here in Washington,” she continued, “or is it coming from hundreds or thousands of miles away? Was the it from a clean and sustainable source like wind or hydro, or from a coal plant that’s poisoning our planet? This legislation will make it easier for utilities to identify their sources and disclose them to consumers in a clear, understandable format.”

HB 1428 takes effect on July 27 – 90 days after the April 28 adjournment of the 2019 legislative session.

# # #