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The rising cost of keeping warm

 

Last updated 2/24/2022 at 3:53pm



Assemblymember Marie Waldron

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The electric bills just keep going up, and up. California energy costs have been high for years, even before the recent spikes. Now it’s getting much worse.

Inflation nationwide is out of control, with prices rising at the fastest rate in 40 years. In California, housing is beyond reach for many, gas prices/taxes are the nation’s highest, and our overall tax rates far exceed national norms. Thousands have been priced out of California, with many fleeing the state just to make a living. Energy prices are a big factor, since Californians are charged much higher rates than the rest of the nation – our costs here locally are the country’s highest

In many ways, our electric rates are divorced from the actual cost of providing electricity, saddled with reducing wildfire risk, with subsidies for programs such as building electrification, meeting carbon neutrality goals and other public programs not directly related to providing electricity. The rising cost of natural gas, used to produce most of our electricity, is another major factor. As a result, our electricity costs are often two or three times higher than the actual cost to produce and distribute electricity. Unfortunately, middle and lower income ratepayers bear a disproportionate share of this heavy burden.

I have heard from many constituents about these rate increases. Though the Legislature does not set electricity rates, I share the same concerns. The California Public Utilities Commission, which was created by voters over 100 years ago to oversee utilities, railroads, and other “natural monopolies,” is charged with setting utility rates.

Since the rising cost of energy has forced so many to choose between feeding their families and keeping them warm, I am calling upon the CPUC to review policies and take a closer look at how their decisions impact the lives of millions.

 

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