Posted by: SherlockHomesSY | 17 Nov 2010

California’s Utility Cost Structure

Electric Bill, PG&E Territory T, Effective 1 Nov 08


I’m a Capitalist who looks for free market solutions rather than government ones for correcting inefficiencies, where possible.  What I’m about to say will drive many who think otherwise to think I’m crazy, but hear me out.  You’ll be surprised.

All other things equal, I prefer PG&E’s cost structure for determining utility bills because it tends to force homeowners to conserve our Nation’s energy resources.  PG&E knows what it should cost for a comfortable, energy-efficient house, while making allowances for people with special needs.

There is a small penalty for people who want to use more energy than they need in such a house.  Then there is a monster penalty for outright waste.  Utility companies should not have to build more power and gas plants to support our nation’s 30-40% waste!  Unfortunately, there is no such recognition anywhere else in the Country I’m aware of.

PG&E’s approach is focused on homeowners and completely ignores tenants though.  If I, as a landlord, am not responsible for your energy bills, why should I care what your energy bills are?  The marketplace does not easily reward landlords for providing energy efficient houses!  The reality is that people are getting sick in their homes because they can’t afford to raise the interior temperature high enough to overcome high humidity problems in the house.  That’s cruel.

PG&Es cost structure can lead to the highest utility bills in the land. We’ll need to work together to figure out how to reach our National energy goals though.


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