AG Ferguson, Rep. Mena bill protecting Washingtonians from utility shut-offs during extreme heat signed into law

Sunday, April 23, 2023

AG Ferguson, Rep. Joe Nguyen, Rep Sharlett Mena stand with Gov. Inslee as he signs their bill
Photo courtesy AG Office

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a bill Attorney General Bob Ferguson partnered on with Rep. Sharlett Mena, D-Tacoma, to ensure a utility operator cannot shut off Washingtonians’ power or water when the National Weather Service issues a heat-related warning or alert.

The bill, House Bill 1329, does not relieve Washingtonians of their obligation to pay their utility bills. It protects human health and safety by preventing electricity shutoffs for failure to pay during extreme heat. It does not prohibit utilities from shutting off power to prevent or mitigate damage from forest fires.

It passed the Senate on April 10, 2023 with a 29-20 vote. The House passed the bill with a bipartisan 64-31 vote in late February.

Sen. Joe Nguyen, D-White Center, sponsored a companion bill in the senate.

“This will provide a tangible, important, life-saving benefit to Washingtonians,” Ferguson said.

“Extreme heat is risky for seniors, people with disabilities, folks who work outside, and anyone who can’t afford their utility bill;” Rep. Mena said. “Power and water can be a matter of life and death during a heat wave. This legislation will ensure that every Washingtonian has the ability to protect themselves against extreme heat.”

The bill places a moratorium on utility shutoffs for inability to pay during a Weather Service heat-related warning or alert. The legislation protects all Washingtonians’ access to electric fans, working refrigerators and running water during extreme heat, as well as air conditioning for residents with access.

More information here


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