Why Are My Electric & Gas Bills So High?

Why Are My Electric & Gas Bills So High?

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 off line 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. 

I read an interesting article a few weeks ago about California's grid and the problems that lie ahead. According to Calmatters, "The state must triple its power generation capacity and deploy new solar and wind energy at almost five times the pace of the past decade," to have enough energy for its lofty green energy goals. 

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 Government to point the finger at the gas/energy provider, it is a bit more complicated. Wildfire mitigation and renewable enegy 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).

Another added cost is a State mandate for transportation electrification requiring utility companies to invest in charging station infrastructure. That is also passed down to ratepayers. 

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 are personally affecting you to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC is the regulatory board for SDGE that approves their rate raises every year. The CPUC board members are in Northern California, so they don’t know what San Diegans are going through right now.

I encourage you to take action by leaving a public comment.  Here is a link to SDG&E’s General Rate Case: https://apps.cpuc.ca.gov/p/a2205016. There is a public comment tab where members of the public can add a comment. There’s also a public-facing fact sheet that explains the General Rate Case and how the public can engage. SDG&E General Rate Case Fact Sheet

There must be measures in place to protect ratepayers. 

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 CA 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.

To show the lack of foresight from the State, last August, the Air Resources Board passed a regulation that all cars must be zero-emissions by 2035. Just six days later, California’s power grid was so taxed by heat waves that an unprecedented, 10-day emergency alert warned residents to cut electricity use or face outages. 

The state should not require Californians to buy electric cars, or switch to electric stoves, if the grid can't supply enough power to make it through summer months. Government has caused a majority of these issues, it must now work to find the solution.

I'm going to continue to look for solutions here at the County and will keep you updated on my efforts.

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