Gee, remember the good ol’ days when your PG&E bill was 25% cheaper than it is now? Yep, 2015’s energy prices sure are a fond memory of ours.
The real kicker of a question here is: why have prices risen so drastically? What could possibly cause producing electricity to become so much more expensive in such a short time?
Unfortunately, it looks like it’s not necessarily the price of producing electricity that’s going up. The reason for sky-rocketing prices is largely due to the greed of the California Public Utilities Commission and the energy industry giants that profit from forcing needless energy plants down our throats. And don’t forget the legislators and government employees that get supported by these powers – they like the extra cash too.
In a nutshell, California is in the process of decommissioning perfectly functioning power plants decades ahead of schedule in favor of building new plants and infrastructure. The groovy thing (for the energy companies and their government cronies, not for people like you) is that the cost to construct these new plants isn’t coming out of their own coffers. The cost is being borne by the everyday, small-time consumers.
Even worse is that we currently – without the new plants being built – have a huge excess of power. According to the article we linked below, Californians are already paying prices 50% higher when compared to the rest of the country, and our costs are set to continue increasing. We don’t even remotely need any new power plants in California to meet our current needs, or projected needs for the near future – but plants continue to be built because it makes the people building them lots and lots of money.
Here’s that great article we mentioned from the LA Times that calls total bullshit on the current practice:
Maddening beyond belief is the fact that California, in response to the energy crisis of a few years ago and at the behest of the same lawmakers and commissions that are driving price increases, are actually using less energy than we were in 2008. Just like with our water usage, we’ve cut down consumption, but the regulations on our usage are becoming more onerous and even more expensive.
Food for thought from the article:
“Although California uses 2.6% less electricity annually from the power grid now than in 2008, residential and business customers together pay $6.8 billion more for power than they did then. The added cost to customers will total many billions of dollars over the next two decades, because regulators have approved higher rates for years to come so utilities can recoup the expense of building and maintaining the new plants, transmission lines and related equipment, even if their power isn’t needed.”
“Indeed, even as electricity demand has fallen since 2008, California’s new plants have boosted its capacity enough to power all of the homes in a city the size of Los Angeles — six times over.”
And now here’s our favorite bullshit quote from the article:
“We overbuilt the system because that was the way we provided that degree of reliability,” explained Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission. “Redundancy is important to reliability.”
Sooo, Mr. Picker. Far as we can tell, the perfectly functioning plants that are being shut down in favor of the newly constructed plants were doing a swell job providing the state’s required redundancy in energy capacity – and at a much cheaper cost to the consumer.
The one development that may bring the greed of “regulated” utilities providers like PG&E into focus more acutely than any other is this: perfectly functioning plants are being retired 25-30 years ahead of schedule to allow providers to keep building new ones.
At the end of the day, the push to build reams of new plants without need is a barefaced money grab by public utilities in California – and it’s being supported and encouraged by state and local legislators and officials everywhere. We only hope that someone in the state pulls their head out in time to save us from the even higher costs projected for the near future.
Fat chance, we know, but THC is nothing if not a group of optimists. Can’t you tell?