by Katy Grimes, E&E Legal Senior Media Fellow and California Globe Editor
As Appearing in the California Globe
Every billion in spending translates into a 7% rate increase to the ratepayer’
While 3.3 million Californians have unpaid utility bills totaling $1.25 billion due to “COVID pandemic impacts,” the California Public Utilities Commission at a meeting last week discussed their recent white paper exposing that since 2013, private utility bills have exceeded the annual inflation rate of 1.9%. In just the last seven years, San Diego gas and Electric’s utility rates increased 48%, Pacific Gas and Electric’s increased 38% and Southern California Edison’s increased 6%.
The Globe met with Jesus Arredondo, energy and regulatory expert, and the Principal of Advantage Consulting. He said the CPUC hosted an Energy Rates and Costs En Banc (in full court) last week that centered around themes and concepts raised in their White Paper, Utility Costs and Affordability of the Grid of the Future – California electric and gas cost and rate trends over the next decade.
“The white paper warns that the burden of continually rising utility bills will likely derail California’s decarbonization work if left unaddressed,” Arredondo said. “Worse, the rising costs are hitting customers who’ve been hit hard by pandemic-driven job losses and sheltering at home the hardest.”
California’s “decarbonization work” is the state’s and CPUC’s flawed scheme to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through moving to an all-electric grid, away from oil and gas, coal, hydroelectric and nuclear power.