California: Another Energy Crisis Courtesy of Jerry Brown
Numbers are a funny thing. Regardless of what people say they mean, ultimately the numbers are what they are. This applies to California Energy Policy.
California government has been interfering in the electricity market for years. Up until 20 years ago, the regulation of the Big Three electrical utilities, Pacific, Gas and Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) was a reliable, consumer friendly process. The California Public Utilities Commission was a respected agency that performed its regulatory duties ensuring that electricity was reliable and that consumers received good service at a reasonable price.
Back in 1996, that all changed. The “deregulation” of the energy markets (it was really only a partial deregulation that looked nothing like what other states had done) was adopted by the legislature in a bipartisan, near unanimous vote and signed by then Governor Pete Wilson in a rush to get the legislation completed.
What ensued in 2000, was the California Energy Crisis partly caused by California’s haphazard “deregulation” and assisted by Governor Grey Davis who refused the Big Three utility’s requests to sign long-term energy contracts that would lock in lower prices for consumers and guarantee a secure energy supply. Instead, the utilities were then forced to purchase power on the spot market which had been gamed by numerous energy producers who shut down power plants to spike the spot market during peak demand time.
To their credit, PG&E, SDG&E and SCE warned Governor Davis that this could and would happen. The energy crisis then began.
You would think that California would have learned, but no, it hasn’t. A much more subtle and insidious energy crisis is beginning to emerge, but unlike its predecessor, this one won’t begin with rolling blackouts, although that very likely will occur in the near future.
California Government recently passed a new requirement that 50 percent of all electricity be produced through “renewable” sources by 2030. This is an expansion of the current mandate that 33 percent of electricity be “renewable” by 2020 and the original mandate of 20 percent by 2020.
The concept is that the mandate for renewable energy will reduce California’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon output which has been linked by the government to climate change. Sounds well and good
But what none of the politicians, environmentalists, big-three electrical utilities or renewable energy advocates are mentioning is what the end cost to consumers will be, but we are already witnessing the results. California electrical prices have increased by 35 percent and are now 40 percent higher than the national average.
Advocates for the low-income are calling it “energy poverty.” But what really is happening is manipulation by the state government, in collusion with the Public Utilities Commission and the Big Three, to raise electricity prices unnecessarily by forcing consumers to pay for inefficient solar and wind power in the name of solving global warming.
It doesn’t end with your electricity. Electrical power is used in every facet of Californian’s lives and in every product we buy, whether it is the price of delivering water to your home and the produce you buy at the store (electricity to pump water) or driving your new plug-in hybrid. The price will increase for everything.
You see folks, like lowering the speed limit to 55 MPH, saving the Delta Smelt, or raising your water rates after you let your lawn die, Jerry Brown knows better than you what is best for you and your family.
And for those who spent big money to install your own home solar generation, that won’t save you. The Big Three already have plans to nail you too.
Keep an eye on your electric bill.