Electricity rate shock more likely than blackouts this summer

evaporative coolerMay 15, 2013

By Wayne Lusvardi

There have been many forecasts of possible rolling blackouts in California this summer due to a shortage of power from the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant and the instability of a green power grid due to hourly weather fluctuations.

But the most likely scenario for California for the summer of 2013 is electricity price shock, especially for those moderate-income households that run air conditioners during the hot days in the Central Valley of California.

The consequence of a cleaner, greener energy system might be that renters and those with older houses cannot afford to run air conditioners or other modern household conveniences in California during hot summer months.  There will be affordable energy for the very poor who get subsidies, and for the wealthy who have installed solar panels.

Everyone else will have to use the more primitive and less effective technology of swamp coolers, shift to fans, or just plain sweat it out during the summer months as the price paid for green power, clean skies and a politically rigged rate structure.  Parts of California may regress to a pre-modern state, while wealthier areas won’t feel the heat at all.  And those on fixed incomes and welfare won’t feel it much either due to the California Alternate Rates for Energy plan.

Electricity rates that have ramped up to 50 cents per kilowatt-hour for Pacific Gas & Electric customers in the top rate tier in 2010. That mainly was caused by rate subsidies given low-income customers after the California Energy Crisis of 2001.

Overall, California wholesale electricity prices have declined due to a shift to cheap natural gas.  But those in the higher tiers of electricity usage didn’t benefit from that during hot summer months.

And because of such deep subsidies to those in the lowest rate tiers, there is no benefit from conservation.  The lower-income customer and higher-income solar-powered homeowner can run their air conditioners all day and the renters and older homeowners can’t afford to. The wealthy that can afford to live along the coast won’t feel the heat as much and neither will the wealthy “inlanders,” who will pay huge electricity bills during summer months.

Renters and those with older homes that are not suitable for solar panels have been politically selected to pay for most of the rate shock.  Old houses were made to breathe and insulating them for solar power can result in air moisture and mold buildup.

How energy pricing and usage system works in California 

Electricity usage rates are approved every three years in California for customers living in areas served by regulated electric utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Each regulated utility has tiered rates depending on how much power is used in order to conserve power.

But customers in cooler climate zones have lower usage base baselines while those in hotter climate zones have higher usage baselines.  By allowing more use of electricity in hotter areas at relatively lower rates, those most affected by hot weather can afford to run their air conditioners more hours each month.

The way the tiered usage system works can be seen in the table below. PG&E customers living in hot Merced in the summer months are allowed to use twice as much power at the same rate as those who live in cooler San Francisco.

How California Sets Rates for Customers of Regulated Electric Power Companies

Tier 1 Baseline Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
Up to baseline 101-130% 131-200% 201-300% 300%>
Rate per kilowatt hour 13 cents 15 cents 30 cents 34 cents 34 cents
San Francisco (cooler) 0 to 225 kilowatt hours 226 to 293 kilowatt hours 294 to 450 kilowatt hours 451 to 675 kilowatt hours 676+ kilowatt hours
Merced (warmer) 0 to 513 kilowatt hours 514 to 667 kilowatt hours 668-1026 kilowatt hours 1027 to 1539 kilowatt hours 1540+ kilowatt hours
Source: Little Hoover Commission, Rewiring California, 2012, p. 40.

Connected get solar panels, the unnconnected get swamp coolers

There isn’t much that policy makers are doing to lessen rate shock for the most affected.  Installing older technology like evaporative “swamp” coolers in older homes could reduce peak month power bills by 80 to 90 percent. At least with a rooftop swamp cooler a homeowner gets both clean, fresh air and low C02 emissions.  

But California public policy more promotes contrived solar jobs programs and energy cost shifting onto renters and older homeowners, than helping them to reduce rate shock. And renters in older apartment buildings will mostly be left to bake for the summer of 2013 unless they can install cheaper window air conditioners and isolate themselves in one room

47 comments

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  1. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 15 May, 2013, 09:28

    Dammit Wayne…..you just made my head explode…..LOL

    I made the mistake of going to PG&E’s California Alternate Rates for Energy program (which yields the adorable acronym “CARE”, of course.) I wasn’t able to find the rate structure for CARE , but in addition to detail on applying for CARE, (and plenty of information on Outreach!!!! Yea!!) was able to find links for —-

    FERA Program.
    Energy Savings Assistance Program.
    Medical Baseline Allowance.
    REACH Program.
    etc.

    G__ D___ it all to hell! What a dog’s breakfast of government welfare.

    Reply this comment
  2. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 15 May, 2013, 09:32

    Good point Jimmy– It’s crap that we have to help the needy! Right on man.

    Reply this comment
  3. doug
    doug 15 May, 2013, 09:49

    thats awesome, those hotter areas are also the highest unemployed.
    Edison will also be finding a way to pay off that now unused san onofre plant.

    Reply this comment
  4. Nancy
    Nancy 15 May, 2013, 10:18

    A swamp cooler is the only “air-conditioning” we have ever had.

    Reply this comment
  5. us citizen
    us citizen 15 May, 2013, 10:20

    Ted……why in the sam blazes do we have to help the person who drops out of school, is a drug addict or alcoholic, has 12 kids, is a lazy ass bastard or illegal alien? When you become a burden on society by purpose (and you have control over the above, so you have chosen to do that) why is everyone else expected to pick up the pieces and pay your way?

    Reply this comment
  6. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 15 May, 2013, 10:25

    US Cit– Are you a Christian?

    Reply this comment
  7. Stanley K.
    Stanley K. 15 May, 2013, 11:41

    Wayne, appreciate your coverage on what resonates as the more accurate perspective on the shocks we face, brought to us by (as you put it) “green power and a politically rigged rate structure.”

    Reply this comment
  8. Alex
    Alex 15 May, 2013, 11:57

    Here are the rates:
    Total Energy Rates ($ per kWh)
    Baseline Usage $0.08316
    101% to 130% of Baseline $0.09563 ( )
    Over 130% of Baseline $0.13974 (I)
    Total Minimum Charge Rate ($ per meter per day) $0.11828

    No Tier 4 and 5.

    http://www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC_SCHEDS_EL-1.pdf

    Reply this comment
  9. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 15 May, 2013, 14:02

    Trolling Teddy: You’re a fool.

    There’s a world of difference between “the needy” and “HERE! You get everything for free, simply by virtue of being a breathing, breeding homo sapien residing within U.S. borders.”

    Reply this comment
  10. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 15 May, 2013, 14:06

    Good point Jimmy– It’s crap that we have to help the needy! Right on man.

    Excellent point Tedzs…I for one have found a novel method of powering a central air conditioning system with the battery from a discarded ObamaPhone.

    Try it at home…fun for the kidz….and as always…it’s educational.

    Reply this comment
    • lylacavanaugh
      lylacavanaugh 10 September, 2013, 22:52

      I think we are now forced to help the needy because we did not do anything to stop their jobs from being outsourced to China. You know “first they came for the black guy, but I wasn’t black. Then they came for the Jew, but I wasn’t a Jew etc. Now they are outcourcing the next service tier of jobs and we still aren’t doing anything? All these TCCP Parnership Agreements now and NAFTA/GATT treaties we on “FAST TRACK” authority and were passed in secrecy over night! with less time than it took to discuss the merits of the Syria attack! Now we have all these poor people. But I didn’t do anything beause I wasn’t poor, and now we will all be poor on the continent our forefathers bequeathered to us. So Sad.

      Reply this comment
  11. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 15 May, 2013, 14:40

    Jimmy– Are you a Christian?

    Would Jesus help the poor?

    I guess you want a gov org of some sort to determine who truly needs the help?

    Or do you somehow just know who truly is needy? By looking at them? or, what little buddy?

    Reply this comment
  12. us citizen
    us citizen 15 May, 2013, 15:08

    Ted…..you did not answer the question. Religion has nothing to do with this. Stop the dancing and answer the question.

    Reply this comment
  13. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 15 May, 2013, 15:34

    Tedszly- Are you a lobbyist.

    Would a lobbyist help the poor?

    I guess you want a lobbyist of some sort to determine who truly needs the help?

    Or do you somehow just know who truly is a lobbyist? By looking at them? or, what little labor lobbyist?

    Well for you my little friend with his hand out I use a short little ruler.

    Reply this comment
  14. Queeg
    Queeg 15 May, 2013, 17:13

    Bunker dwellers are a surly greedy bunch…..is it the desert water or being heavily supervised at their cubicle jobs!

    Reply this comment
  15. The Ted
    The Ted 15 May, 2013, 18:38

    Lol..a.Its the cubicles for sure Queegster

    Jesus would help the poor, no questions asked. Maybe these guys are Muslims? But that’s cool, they should probably help the poor too. What gives with these Doomers?

    Reply this comment
  16. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 15 May, 2013, 20:17

    Funny you bring up the whole Jesus thing, Theodore…..

    I don’t recall anything about Jesus running around and holding up people at metaphorical gunpoint, demanding they help the poor.

    Back to your lair under the bridge, Theodore.

    Reply this comment
  17. eyeamok
    eyeamok 15 May, 2013, 20:45

    Would Jesus help the poor?

    Teddy,

    Would Jesus use the Force of Armed Government to require that everybody help the poor, stupid, lazy… at the level Government Decides??? Or do you believe he would ask people to do it from their hearts as best they could to help their fellow man???

    Reply this comment
  18. The Ted
    The Ted 15 May, 2013, 21:16

    Eye,uck… Jesus wouldn’t let u Doomers foment any lame excuses to aid the poor. Not the least of which would be your corpulent synical judgements of others as stupid or lazy.

    Reply this comment
  19. Queeg
    Queeg 16 May, 2013, 07:39

    The poor get free or cheap power…..cut the crap….after Obamacare unfolds……why work…..Be poor at subsidized 50k equivalent like Denmark!

    Reply this comment
  20. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 16 May, 2013, 11:22

    Are you ok Queeg?

    Reply this comment
  21. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 16 May, 2013, 11:47

    Bunker dwellers are a surly greedy bunch…..is it the desert water or being heavily supervised at their cubicle jobs!

    QUEEF….baby…..did the trailer mortgage come through? Tougher for a hard working sockpuppet like yourself to find a decent place to live now that Countrywide Mortgage is gone.

    Reply this comment
  22. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 16 May, 2013, 11:48

    Are you ok Queeg?

    I guess life does imitate art….Tedz is actually “talking to the hand”.

    LOLOlolollololo0lololololololLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOOLOLOLOLOLO!

    TEDSZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ELEVENTY!111

    Reply this comment
  23. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 16 May, 2013, 12:26

    Queeny– I LOVE the fact that you have absolutely no idea (among other areas of ignorance) who the players are out here. It’s supper fun!

    Reply this comment
  24. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 16 May, 2013, 13:54

    I see Queeg posting during work hours….hmmmm.

    Reply this comment
  25. Queeg
    Queeg 16 May, 2013, 14:20

    Denmark turning down slum public housing….residents upset….government not rebuilding housing for them…..

    I am ok……sick of working twelve hours a day moving rednecks back to conservative oblivions…..and sometimes get sick of pansy liberals telling me how to live, breathe, eat, etc…..

    Reply this comment
  26. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 16 May, 2013, 14:49

    Queeg—- Can it be true that I am at war with myself? Is this just more regression in service of the ego? Are you not me?

    Reply this comment
  27. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 16 May, 2013, 14:54

    If the Doomers think you are me, well? When we speak about the return of the repressed, we are addressing a condition that is very closely associated with the repetition compulsion. In other words we are talking about a condition that repeats itself despite the fact that there is no etiological reason for the repetition.Seems like the Doomers may need help but NEVER want to help the poor.It’s a broken record. A feedback loop of Beckian/Coulterish proportuions!

    Reply this comment
  28. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 16 May, 2013, 15:50

    It’s supper fun!

    Hey TEDSZSZSZS what’s for “supper” fun? Excellent grammar “Sofa King”!

    Reply this comment
  29. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 16 May, 2013, 15:50

    Is this just more regression in service of the ego?

    Are you not men? You are DEVO.

    LOL TARDZ LOL!

    Reply this comment
  30. Queeg
    Queeg 16 May, 2013, 16:52

    The loons strike out at Teddy…..so sad….

    Teddy has done an incalcuable service for CWD…..pacified many sick bunker types keeping them away from the white coats!

    Reply this comment
  31. The Ted
    The Ted 16 May, 2013, 21:43

    Thanks Queeg, I have done what I can for the poor sad sacks. I worry myself sick about them.

    Reply this comment
  32. Queeg
    Queeg 16 May, 2013, 22:09

    Teddy is the sage!

    Reply this comment
  33. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 17 May, 2013, 07:16

    Queef: The loons strike out at Teddy…..so sad….

    Teddy has done an incalcuable service for CWD…..pacified many sick bunker types keeping them away from the white coats!

    Tedszly: Thanks Queeg, I have done what I can for the poor sad sacks. I worry myself sick about them.

    Queef: Teddy is the sage!

    The best part of this exchange is that it came from one guy securely fastened into his freshly pressed straight jacket. That you type so well with your feet is a testament to your indominitible spirit.

    You’re crazy but I have to salute you for this nonetheless!

    Reply this comment
  34. Queeg
    Queeg 17 May, 2013, 08:15

    Queen……Yawn…..yawn……and a triple yawn.

    Reply this comment
  35. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 17 May, 2013, 08:46

    Queef

    At least you can be bothered to type actual words unlike your other “co-personality” Tedz who really seems to have a one key fixation.

    Way to put forth the extra effort.

    Reply this comment
  36. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 17 May, 2013, 08:48

    Queefy,

    Totally off topic. What did you guys do to Ulysses he hasn’t crawled out of your shared noggin for a couple of days now?

    He okay?

    Reply this comment
  37. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 17 May, 2013, 11:15

    Oh….my mistake. There he is upthread.

    What a relief…I thought Tedsly might have him in a gimp suit and ball gag….metaphorically of course.

    Reply this comment
  38. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 17 May, 2013, 13:57

    Queen’s inner feeling are out now! LMAO !!!

    Reply this comment
  39. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 17 May, 2013, 15:22

    LMAO !!!

    Tedzsly did your copy of “Internet Abbreviations for Dummies” magazine come today?

    LOLTEDZLYLOL.

    Reply this comment
  40. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 17 May, 2013, 15:26

    Still thinking about me little buddy?

    Hurry! Post now!!

    Reply this comment
  41. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 17 May, 2013, 18:39

    I rent space in Queen’s head for free!

    Reply this comment
  42. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 18 May, 2013, 09:31

    Well that’s a step up from camping out in TEDZ ass! I hope you showered first.

    Reply this comment
  43. Queeg
    Queeg 19 May, 2013, 00:42

    Queen why resort to 4th grade potty mouth outbursts…..you should be banned from CWD. Repent for conservatism deserves far better of it’s lemmings!

    Reply this comment
  44. Bunker Queen
    Bunker Queen 19 May, 2013, 20:12

    Queen why resort to 4th grade potty mouth outbursts…..you should be banned from CWD. Repent for conservatism deserves far better of it’s lemmings!

    Queefy make sad Queef face.

    Tell you what Queef…you get the proprietors to e-mail me and say that I’m hurting the resident sockpuppets feelings and I’ll happily ride off into the sunset.

    Reply this comment
  45. Queeg
    Queeg 20 May, 2013, 07:40

    Your pitied…..for sure….

    Reply this comment
  46. obat jerawat dokter
    obat jerawat dokter 16 April, 2018, 20:52

    thank you for shariing this article

    Reply this comment

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