WA Representative Jeff Morris shared some recent state legislative action, with these highlights:
1) Appliance Efficiency
The 2015 House of Representatives passed Rep. Morris’ bill to set higher efficiency standards for appliances sold in Washington. House Bill 1100 will require appliances to be manufactured with better energy saving mechanisms in order to be sold in Washington. Inefficient appliances waste energy – costly for Washington families and our environment.
California has already established higher efficiency standards. If we don’t catch up, Washington could become a dumping ground for low-efficiency, outdated appliances that manufacturers can’t sell in other states.
His bill is now sent on to the Senate, where he hopes for speedy passage.
2) Creating an ‘Exit Strategy’ for Coal Plants
Morris also introduced a bill that would give state utility companies a pathway for closing down coal plants and phasing out coal-fired energy generation.
Despite state, federal and consumer pressures, the transition for utility companies to end coal energy generation is more complicated than simply closing coal plants. Market instability and financial burden caused by the removal of a large energy source eventually falls on consumers, which could escalate rates for those now dependent on coal.
Morris says,“If we expect our utility companies to end their use of coal, we need to give them a viable exit strategy that protects consumers.”
His proposed legislation wouldn’t force the closure of any plants and instead provides a cost-effective pathway for utilities to do it themselves.
Note that many states with low-cost electricity, like West Virginia, burn cheap, dirty coal. This chart of carbon footprints clearly demonstrates that hydro power carbon footprint is about 250 times cleaner than coal. OPALCO electricity comes primarily from very clean, renewable hydro power, as shown in the 2013 Fuel Mix report.
WA Representative Jeff Morris represents the 40th Legislative District that includes San Juan County and parts of Skagit and Whatcom Counties. Jeff has been a strong leader on energy initiatives, including energy efficiency and renewable energy policy.
For more information about both bills, click here. To learn more about ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home (including upgrading to efficient appliances), visit our OPALCO Energy Savings website.