Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Californians Are Paying Billions For Power They Don't Need

This article is a little bit simplified, but it does a good job presenting why California electricity rates remain high, even as electricity use has dropped a little bit. The article even helps explain why I am not working these days - utilities like Sutter used to sustain me. (My quibble with the interactive graphic is that shortage of electrical-generation capacity did not cause the power shortages in 2001. Instead it was the state losing the ability to enter long-term contracts that proved so troublesome.):
California has a big — and growing — glut of power, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times has found. The state’s power plants are on track to be able to produce at least 21% more electricity than it needs by 2020, based on official estimates. And that doesn’t even count the soaring production of electricity by rooftop solar panels that has added to the surplus.

To cover the expense of new plants whose power isn’t needed — Colusa, for example, has operated far below capacity since opening — Californians are paying a higher premium to switch on lights or turn on electric stoves. In recent years, the gap between what Californians pay versus the rest of the country has nearly doubled to about 50%.

This translates into a staggering bill. Although California uses 2.6% less electricity annually from the power grid now than in 2008, residential and business customers together pay $6.8 billion more for power than they did then.

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