A special thank you to Senators Sharon Brown and Doug Ericksen for their hard work on Senate Bill 6058! Your efforts are greatly appreciated and we look forward to keeping up the momentum in the House of Representatives!
Coming soon to a city near you: Higher energy rates!
Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. and Other Allies Testify in Support of SSB 6058 before House Committee
Senate Passes SB 6058 with Bipartisan Support
After a marathon day of session on February 13, the Washington State Senate passed SB 6058 , legislation introduced by Senator Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick), which would allow hydro efficiency improvements made at federal dams to count as eligible renewable resources under the Energy Independence Act (EIA). The vote marked a victory for Washington residents as such a change will lead to savings on electric bills for consumers and continue the state's rich heritage as a leader in hydro power.
Senate Bill 6058 passed the Senate on a 28-20 vote with bipartisan support. It now heads to the State House for further consideration. Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. thanks Senator Brown for introducing this important legislation and Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) for his vocal support. To urge your State Representatives to support SB 6058 click here.
House Committee Reports HB 2676 With Bipartisan Support
On January 28, the House Technology & Economic Development reported HB 2676, a bill introduced by Rep. Shelly Short (R-Addy), that would allow hydro efficiency improvements made at federal dam projects to count as eligible renewable resources under Washington's Energy Independence Act (EIA). The bill was reported with strong bipartisan support and now heads to the House Rules Committee for consideration on second reading.
House Bill 2676 would provide for utilities and consumers across Washington by leading to savings on electric bills in the future. Currently, utilities who own dams can count energy efficiencies as renewables but those who buy power from the federal system cannot. This bill would rectify that and comes after the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee reported similar legislation (SB 6058) earlier in January.
Representative Shelly Short has been very active in Olympia this session working to make sure the Legislature addresses this issues in 2014. Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. is very thankful for her efforts on this issue and hopes that the House will pass HB 2676 this session. Please contact Rep. Shelly Short to thank her for her efforts and urge your local legislators to support HB 2676 by clicking here.
Sen. Sharon Brown on SB 6058: Incremental Hydropower
Senate Committee Reports Hydro Efficiency Improvements Bill
The Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee has reported legislation out of committee that would allow hydro efficiency improvements to count as renewable energy under Washington’s Energy Independence Act (EIA). Senate Bill 6058, a bill sponsored by Senator Sharon Brown of Kennewick, would allow energy improvements made to federal dam projects to be count as an eligible renewable resource. Currently, utilities who own dams can count energy efficiencies as renewables but those who buy power from the federal system cannot. In a statement, Senator Brown said that such changes would help save consumers money on electricity bills in the future, while also helping employers keep costs down in order to hire more workers and provide even better benefits to their employees.
Steve Simmons, Chairman of Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. and Austin Neilson, Government & Economic Affairs Coordinator for the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, traveled to Olympia to speak in support of SB 6058 and its companion bill in the House, HB 2112 (Shelly Short, R-Addy). Simmons, who also owns Country Gentleman Restaurant & Catering in Kennewick, said that Washingtonians who have paid for these energy efficiency improvements at federal dams should be able to reap the benefits of such improvements and that legislation like this that helps keep utility costs low helps people all over the state.
Senate Energy Committee Testimony on SB 6058 (Brown, R-Kennewick)
Senate Bill 5648 introduced to protect ratepayers
New 8th District Senator Sharon Brown sponsored and introduced Senate Bill 5648 in early February, which protects utilities from buying power before need and to protect customers from rate increases. The bill is a win-win solution for Washington State and ratepayers. The bill provides two changes:
Senate Energy Committee hearing on Senate Bill 5648
The reality of higher energy rates
As a Washington state electric ratepayer, you will soon feel the pinch from Initiative 937’s unintended consequences. Originally passed in 2006, I-937 (Energy Independence Act) was intended to increase energy conservation and renewable energy resources. While steps in conservation were made, utility companies across the state are now required to purchase eligible renewable power (or equivalent credits) even if they don’t need it - in many cases displacing clean, renewable hydropower and disincentivising energy conservation.
These mandates are more restrictive than those in neighboring states, putting Washington at a competitive disadvantage in an already tight economy.
What does this mean for you, the ratepayer?
Requiring utilities to purchase unneeded power is a costly investment. With Washington utilities being forced to buy unneeded power in order to meet renewable energy requirements (3% in 2012, 9% in 2016, and 15% in 2020), they have no choice but to pass these higher costs, onto you, their customer.
What are we calling for?
We are asking our legislators to amend the section of the Energy Independence Act that requires Washington utilities to buy renewable resources they don't need. We must protect consumer rates!
Tom Mackay, AgriNorthwest CFO talks about the impacts higher energy rates have on his business and farmers around the area.
Sign the Petition!
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Donate to P.O.W.E.R.
If you are interested in donating to the efforts of Citizens for P.O.W.E.R., please contact the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce via phone at 509-736-0510 or by email.
'Double paying' for clean energy hurts consumers, The Olympian - March 8, 2014
Lawmakers push for equity in renewable energy rules, Tri-City Herald, February 20, 2014
Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. to testify in Olympia on Thursday, Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. Press Release - February 18, 2014
Hydropower bill makes it through state Senate, Tri-City Herald - February 15, 2014
Brown bill to lower energy costs and create jobs moves to House: Senator Sharon Brown Press Release - February 14, 2014
Public weighs in on Brown's bill to lower energy costs, create jobs: Senator Sharon Brown Press Release - January 14, 2014
In our View: Greens versus the Poor, The Columbian, Feb. 25, 2013
State's costly renewable-energy rules in crosshairs as Senate committee passes 'Don't Buy Before Need' bill, Washington State Wire, Feb. 21, 2013
New State Senator from Tri-Cities proposes renewable energy bill, Tri-City Herald, Feb. 13, 2013
Proposed Energy Conservation Bill Could Create Big Savings, KNDU-TV, Feb. 12, 2013
Regional Chamber led Coalition takes efforts to Olympia, Feb. 11, 2013
Windpower purchasing rules spark another fight in Olympia - Green groups balk at changes, Washington State Wire, Feb. 7, 2013
The cost of too much wind rises, Wenatchee World, Dec. 29, 2012
Subsidizing BIG WIND: The real costs to taxpayers, Manhattan Institute, Oct. 25, 2012
Thanks to the groups that work to better the Tri-Cities, Tri-City Herald, Oct. 4, 2012
Mid-Columbia group forms to fight higher electric bills from unneeded power, Tri-City Herald, Sept. 28, 2012
Tri-Cities Chamber leads effort to stop unnecessary electricity rate increases, The 9th Order, Sept. 28, 2012
Coalition aims to keep energy bills down, KNDU-TV, Sept. 27, 2012
Organization trying to reduce energy costs, KVEW-TV, Sept. 27, 2012
Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. set to spark change in Olympia, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce Press Release - Sept. 27, 2012
Just the facts:
Cowlitz PUD to increase electric rates – The Reflector, November 2, 2011
"The Cowlitz PUD Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Oct. 25 to adopt a 17.5 percent average rate increase, beginning with electric bills sent on Nov. 1….Several factors are driving the increase, most notably $11 million in reduced sales of surplus wind power in 2012."
Celebrate the new year with higher power bills – Tri-City Herald, November 8, 2011
…Benton PUD’s rates will increase an average of six percent effective January 1, 2012…
"Over the past few years, Benton PUD has invested over $11 million in Nine Canyon and White Creek Wind projects to be prepared for the first renewable requirement in 2012. In addition, Benton PUD will spend nearly $3 million on wind resources in 2012."
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If you would like to learn more about the Citizens for P.O.W.E.R. Coalition or if you have further questions, please contact us via email.
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