KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Puget Sound Energy asked us to use less electricity during historic cold snap

Jan 14, 2024, 5:55 PM

Puget Sound Energy...

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

As the temperature dropped across the Seattle area, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) asked customers to stop using electricity and natural gas. It wasn’t merely a tone-deaf response. It illustrates why the region is nowhere near ready for the eco-friendly energy future Democrats are prematurely forcing on us all.

On Saturday at 6 p.m., Seattle was bitterly cold at roughly 17 degrees. Eight minutes later, PSE implored us to “conserve natural gas and electricity use through the evening hours” because “regional utilities are experiencing higher energy use than forecasted, and we need to reduce strain on the grid.”

“This evening, we’re asking customers to set their thermostats at a lower setting and limit the use of hot water, such as dishwashing or clothes washing, dryers and other appliances. We appreciate your assistance in supporting our communities throughout the region,” PSE continued in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, and in emails to consumers.

The ask was, of course, absurd. Customers reacted by lighting into PSE on X.

PSE made a similar request to cut down on electricity on Sunday.

PSE and Democrat lawmakers are dooming us all

PSE forecasted fewer people turning on heat and staying indoors when the region was expected to be hit with record-low temperatures? Equally absurd is PSE’s position that we phase out natural gas. If PSE leadership was not so politically aligned with the unrealistic goals of Democrats, one could look at their ask with some understanding. But given they put politics over consumers, this ask should be seen for what it is: an omen of what’s to come.

PSE endorsed House Bill 1589. The Democrat-sponsored bill aimed to end the expansion of its own natural gas network. If it had passed, it would have meant that PSE couldn’t furnish or supply gas service to any commercial or residential location after June 30, 2023, unless it had already received gas service or filed an application for it. By 2040, the ban would have applied to hospitals. It wasn’t just an unwise decision by PSE, but by the Democrats who pushed for the bill’s adoption.

The goal of the bill was to help PSE align with Washington State Democrat’s impossible goals to combat climate change. The Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) mandates the state’s electric utilities completely eliminate coal from its allocation of electricity by December 31, 2025, and make the retail sales of electricity carbon neutral by January 1, 2030. Additionally, it must service retail with 100% non-emitting and renewable resources by January 1, 2045.

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Forgetting about Washingtonians

PSE leadership and the Democrats who hold a cult-like adherence to the green energy revolution may be noble in their aspirations. But blinded by their own ideology, they overlooked a crucial aspect: the reliability and accessibility of energy during extreme weather conditions. It’s their thinking’s fatal flaw. They argue we must have clean energy to protect against extreme weather but do nothing to ready their own infrastructure. Instead, they demand we adopt new habits and energy resources that they’ve done virtually nothing meaningful to bolster for times when people might use it en masse.

When the demand for heating surges, natural gas, with its efficiency and dependability, becomes a lifeline for Washingtonians. PSE’s call for reduced energy use during such a critical time seems tone-deaf, especially for those who rely on steady and affordable heating options. It shows PSE’s and Democrat’s commitment to eco-friendly energy policies translates to them caring little of our comfort when we need energy the most. This should hardly surprise us.

Despite knowing that gas prices would skyrocket, Governor Jay Inslee and his eco-toady colleagues in Olympia knowingly lied to Washingtonians. They didn’t just falsely claim the Climate Change Commitment Act would either save us money on gas or cost mere pennies, despite having data showing otherwise. They continued to lie about the impacts their legislation had on gas prices. Some, like Inslee, are still claiming the cost of gas is dictated by greedy, price-gouging gas companies (with greed that apparently doesn’t extend to some of our surrounding states where the gas is cheaper and a carbon tax isn’t law).

Imagine what will happen if we continue down this road.

We’re not even close to ready for Democrats’ clean energy revolution

Washington is speeding towards a future where EV cars will be mandated.

By 2035, those are the only cars that will be allowed for sale in the state. Yet we’re not even remotely close to having the infrastructure to plug the cars in. That was proven to me on a drive to Cle Elum for a wedding. The car died on the drive back to Seattle. There was one appropriate EV plug station between Cle Elum and Snoqualmie that the car didn’t last long enough to reach. It’s experiences like that which explain why companies like Hertz is abandoning its EV fleet for gas-powered cars. But even if we had the infrastructure, we don’t have the electricity grid to handle it, especially if it gets cold and we turn on the heat (as we do every winter).

This should all be a wake-up call not to abandon natural gas, but to simply diversify our sources for electricity. Is that what Democrats are demanding we do? No. We must ban natural gas while, ironically, simultaneously destroy the Lower Snake River dam, which helps provide clean energy via hydropower. Democrats have offered no meaningful assistance on which alternative, clean energy will mitigate the impacts of their dam decision. And they seem disinterested in worrying about the customers who will pay much higher energy bills as a result.

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There is a better way

I support clean energy investments where they make sense. But like most reasonable environmentalists, I don’t think we should jettison all our current energy resources when we’re not ready, even if they’re pollutive. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition unless you demand it be that.

We should be investing in clean and extremely efficient nuclear energy, but Democrats don’t seem eager. They pretend it’s dangerous, as if we don’t have the technology and security to keep it safe. We could offer incentives to companies to invest in and develop technologies to mitigate concerns over pollution, but that would mean the Democrats in charge would have to support businesses and capitalism. Thanks to the Radical Left base of the Democrat party, their environmental agenda is more about destroying businesses than saving the planet. The only businesses many Democrats will support are the ones providing clean energy or eco-friendly products. That some of the lawmakers financially benefit from government investments in those businesses is something we’re supposed to turn a blind eye to.

But perhaps that’s the theme we should all notice. Democrats, including those who align with the agenda at PSE, will push us to clean energy at our expense.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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Rantz: Puget Sound Energy asked us to use less electricity during historic cold snap