California, as noted in the above article, has some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. We don't have enough power plants, and in order to force conservation, Southern California Edison instituted punitive new "high usage" rates last summer, with kilowatt hours over a certain minimal usage rate being charged as high as triple the normal rates per hour.
Consequently, no one I know in our neighborhood runs their air conditioning much anymore, because last summer's bills were in the hundreds of dollars.
Unfortunately, this probably isn't the end of it. We've not only got to conserve because of the lack of power plants, but now we may also be charged even more due to global warming legislation passed last year by California's Democratic legislature. From an August 10th article:
"California is poised to pass a groundbreaking rule that would pay utility companies to cut energy use. The California Public Utilities Commission late Thursday unveiled a proposal to create financial incentives for utilities such as PG&E to get their customers to use less power, with the threat of big fines if they do not. The plan would help meet the aggressive targets of the state's landmark global-warming law passed last year, which calls for drastic cuts in the amount of carbon emissions Californians produce."
The commission will vote on the new rule next month.
It seems quite twisted that the electric companies, which are already soaking consumers to extremes, would be paid even more for forcing us to use even less electricity than we already are. Our family's summer consumption, without using air conditioning, is down 12 kilowatt hours per day from two years ago, yet our bills have doubled, and running the A/C would cost a couple hundred dollars more per month. Thus, the electric companies are providing far less service for a lot more money.
It's also quite disturbing that part of the plan is to force electricity consumption to fall to such a degree that the utilities will be able to avoid building new power plants!
That will be great for the economy...
There are days I am really ready to leave California, and this is one of them.