Californians Seeing Big Utility Rate Hikes Thanks To Renewable Energy Mandate


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 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.

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  • banjo kid

    Makes you want to go out and install solar panels on the roof and sell it back to power companies at whole sale rate . It is on my mind to provide my own power and either cut my bill or sell some of it to Duke . It will make the meter run backwards or stop if there is another power supply. The converter would be an expense I don’t know how much but you need a quality converter . Alas the government would find a way to tax it so there would be no advantage .

    • JustRuss

      if you make more than you use, you are an energy producer and thus, you get taxed on what you sell back to the grid?

      Actually I remember this coming up when I lived in San Diego several year ago. There are laws in place which mean your solar power MUST go through the company meter to the house. You can only break even at best even if you feed more power back into the grid than you ever consume, you can not profit off of it. And you are not allowed to sell or even give your electricity away to a neighbor (ie let them plug into your solar panels too, since you use less power than you make during the day). So your excess energy is given to the power company for basically free, and resold to your neighbor.

    • tony_o2

      Don’t forget the expensive equipment needed to isolate your house from the grid if the power goes out. You cannot back-feed when linemen are working on a “dead” line.

  • kevindf

    The free lunch bunch writes this off as “unintended consequences.”

    • Neiman

      Elections have consequences and now California in all three branches is socialist (all democrat controlled) and we Californians will suffer in this experiment in Marxist thought, if it works, everyone in the country will become thus Democrat/Socialist, if it fails only Californians will pay the price for their entitlement mentality that caused them to vote for a wholly socialist state.

  • 11B40


    But the ugly is still free, right ???

    Just “bumps in the road” then.

  • Ernie

    Is it possible to put up a fence around California? I would sleep better knowing that the California crazies are fenced in. Might want to throw up a fence around Washington DC too. Somebody told me the last ice age was due to Global Warming. Dinosaur farts. Killed them all.

  • Harold

    I love it when something bites Californians in the arse when they vote for someone like Obama. Couldn’t happen to nicer people higher electric rates that is. Sad thing is that Illinois can’t pay their pension obligations, and there now in Washington asking that the other 49 states have to chip in to pay those promises they made and can’t keep. So everyone is stuck with the bill for Illinois and now California’s stupidity.