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  • Energy Fragmentation Resulting in Blackouts Says PG&E

    California is currently experiencing wildfires and power shut offs up and down the state. A recent article in the California Globe (Lusvardi, 9/9) discusses how energy fragmentation may be to blame for our current energy crisis. The article mentions PG&E’s recent California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) filing about their latest shutoffs, saying that the blackouts are not due to a cascading failure of the system, wind or fire damage to transmission lines, circuit breaker failure, transformer failures or lightning. Nor are they due to lack of solar and wind power. So what IS the cause? State and local mandated energy policies; Specifically, energy mandates that eliminate Californians’ energy choices.

    In addition, according to data recently compiled by the California Business Roundtable, the latest prices for fuel, electricity and natural gas for June and August shows a relentless rise in energy costs that Californian households are being forced to pay due to state energy mandates. The latest data indicates the financial burden on families and businesses continues to grow: 

    • $6.2 billion – The California average residential electricity price for the 12 months ended June 2020 was 55.1% higher than the US average for all states other than California. California's higher electricity prices translated into residential ratepayers paying $6.2 billion more than the average ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy. Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paid $11.4 billion more.
    • $2.6 billion – For the 12 months ended June 2020, California's higher natural gas prices translated into residential ratepayers paying $2.6 billion more than the average ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy. Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paid $3.8 billion more.
    • $16.9 billion –Californians paid about $16.9 billion more over the year compared to the average gasoline price elsewhere in the US, and another $3.1 billion for diesel using Department of Tax & Fee Administration taxable fuels data available through May 2020.
    • $44 billion – Combined, these administratively-imposed energy taxes total at least an additional $44 billion a year above the average—more if consumption levels had been closer to the pre-COVID levels in April through June.
    The data above shows the result of ten years of state regulations that individually “just add another 25 cents a gallon” or “have costs that are easily absorbable” or other justifications that have failed to consider the full effect in particular on low income households and increasingly middle-income ones as well. These findings highlight why we need to stay informed on energy policy issues and why it’s integral we advocate to California’s decision makers about these issues that impact our families, friends and businesses.