Supervisor Jim Desmond
That's a question I've been asking myself and a frequent question my office has received. I'm asking the same questions, and it appears the answers aren't simple, but there needs to be a solution.
As trending federal government and state energy policies are focused on switching energy sources, like taking nuclear power plants offline and reducing fossil fuel options and replacing them with cleaner, renewable energy, a chasm has grown. It is simple supply and demand, there is not enough power being generated in California.
With the federal government's shutdown of the Keystone pipeline and the war in Ukraine, the cost of natural gas has also risen across the country, and especially in California. California’s utility rates are consistently 30% higher than the national average.
Then there's SDG&E. While it's simple for the government to point the finger at the gas/energy provider, it is a bit more complicated. Wildfire mitigation and renewable energy construction are major cost drivers for SDG&E, which then pushes those costs onto us, the ratepayers. Rather than consumers taking on these costs, the state should invest in the infrastructure, using tax dollars and fees (collected from the same consumers).
With that being said, SDG&E should not be making record profits especially while people are suffering.
So, what can we do?
First, I encourage you to express your concerns and how the rise in energy costs is personally affecting you to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). You can go to their website and comment about how the prices are affecting you.
Also, most of the natural gas used in California comes from out-of-state natural gas basins. California's Governor should be looking for ways to increase the production of natural gas within California and ways to offset the costs of electricity.
I consistently advocate for a balanced approach to most things. Whether it's a transportation plan or climate goals, we need to balance the future with the realities of today.
Today, costs are high, and San Diegans are struggling to afford day-to-day necessities. The unintended consequences from the state and federal government are crushing families and seniors on fixed incomes.
I'm going to continue to look for solutions here at the county and will keep you updated on my efforts.