Californians Seeing Big Utility Rate Hikes Thanks To Renewable Energy Mandate

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The State of California has imposed on its energy industry a mandate that at least 1/3 of the state’s power come from so-called “renewable energy” sources by 2020. Not surprisingly, given that power sources like wind and solar are several times more expensive than sources like coal, gas or nuclear power, this is leading to big increases in utility bills for Californians:

Almost 5 million Southern California Edison Co. customers in hundreds of cities and communities across the southern, central and coastal parts of the state will be hit with higher electric bills early next year and bigger hikes in each of the following two years.+

The decision, which Edison says will add an average of $7 a month to residential bills for the first year, covers Edison’s costs to provide service, which amounts to about half a ratepayer’s bill. Other costs for buying fuel and contracting for power deliveries fluctuate and are passed directly to consumers.

Not surprisingly, the state’s businesses (particularly manufacturers) aren’t happy:

Business groups also complained that the jump in Edison’s already steep electric rates could make it harder for them to keep operating profitably.

“California manufacturers already pay 50% higher electricity rates than the national average,” said Gino Di Caro, a spokesman for the California Manufacturers & Technology Assn.

But what’s the big deal? California’s unemployment rate is only 10.2%. What’s a few more Americans out of work for the sake of green energy.

Meanwhile, the state of California is apparently sitting on oil reserves that are four times larger than North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. But those reserves aren’t likely to be tapped, thanks to California’s green energy mandate, and so the jobs and prosperity (and perhaps cheaper utility bills) that would result aren’t to manifest for Californians.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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