Utilities Question Whether Service Shutoff Proposal Is Needed
The Washington State Attorney General's Office is supporting a bill that isn't being received favorably by utilities around Washington.
The proposal calls for utilities to not shut off services due to non-payments when daytime temperatures are expected to reach 90 degrees or higher.
Kelli Scott with the Chelan County PUD says such a moratorium isn't necessary.
"Procedure is in place where in extreme temperatures, we don't disconnect folks for non-payment." Scott said.
Douglas County PUD's Meaghan Vibbert echoes the same sentiment.
"Douglas County PUD takes customer safety seriously and we already have a practice in place where we work with our customers individually on whatever their account needs may be, no matter what." Vibbert said.
Both Vibbert and Scott agree more data is needed to support the Attorney General's proposal. Scott says it poses problems for utilities with large service areas.
"If it's 90 degrees in Wenatchee, it's probably not going to be 90 degrees in Lake Wenatchee, so there are a lot of details that's concerning about the bill." Scott said.
And Vibbert says she hasn't seen enough data with heat-related deaths or injuries to understand why the bill is being pushed in the first place.
"What is their data include, where was it, is it because they were shut off or was it because they were unhoused or they didn't have air conditioning?" Vibbert said.
Legislators have crafted a senate and house version of the bill for further discussion.
For more on House Bill 1329, click here.
For more on Senate Bill 5366, click here.
Both bills are scheduled for hearings this week in Olympia.