Hastings opines on safe, affordable energy for manufacturers

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 19, 2019 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

This opinion piece by CMTA President Lance Hastings was printed in the Fresno Bee on September 17, 2019

The state must strive for safe, affordable and reliable energy

Californians pay the highest energy bills in the United States, averaging 41 percent higher rates than the rest of the country. These bills are not isolated just to higher energy costs for Californians, they also cause higher food and transportation costs and make it even more difficult for families to make ends meet.

The high energy costs also are reflected in the availability of jobs with good wages and overall costs of living in California – because electricity rates for factories, manufacturers and other industrial employers are a staggering 86 percent higher than the U.S. average.

These rates are high - and climbing. For example, in 2010 commercial ratepayers paid 21 percent above the national average. Today, it’s 49 percent and undoubtedly it will rise again soon.

For PG&E ratepayers, the picture looks even worse.

After the Legislature passed Senate Bill 901 last year, providing relief to PG&E with ratepayer money, the utility is asking for another billion dollar rate increase to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission This would cost average households over $120 a year more in their energy bills with even higher costs for businesses, factories, and manufacturers.

With the highest rates in the nation, PG&E says that they want to use these new funds for wildfire prevention and mitigation, which is exactly what the SB 901 funds were supposed to subsidize. In addition, the Legislature recently passed AB 1054 to further support the utilities as they address wildfire impacts. The ink on both pieces of legislation is hardly dry, and here we go again seeking more money from ratepayers.

More concerning is the official monitoring report filed publicly last week that said PG&E failed to meet its obligation to prune vegetation far enough away from its lines including the removal of 10 types of trees that have been involved in starting past fires. The report found that in the first 53.5 miles inspected, PG&E has missed 3,280 trees that should have been trimmed or removed.

We are asking the Governor, Legislature and regulators to consider the impact PG&E’s proposals will have on every business and resident. The state already has the highest energy bills in the nation, how much more can we pay? We are at a tipping point, and must defend our ability to have safe, reliable and affordable energy.

The proposals by PG&E will only make it more difficult for consumers to make ends meet and we will lose valuable new manufacturing investment to other states with more competitive energy packages.

We look forward to working with Governor Newsom and state leaders to ensure proper and equitable solutions to California’s difficult energy dynamics.

Capitol updates archive 989898989