Electricity and other energy rates in California are going up. That much we know.
How much are they going up? Ahh, that’s what we don’t know. In fact, we have no idea.
The California Energy Commission has projected electricity will cost 26 percent to 42 percent more by 2020. But it could go much higher. Or maybe lower. Nobody knows.
With that uncertain backdrop, an umbrella group last week put out a report that tried to “initiate a dialogue” on the presumed higher energy costs and their effects on the economy. It focused on the cumulative impact of California’s three big environmental initiatives – the mandate that electric utilities get 33 percent of their power from renewable sources, the carbon cap-and-trade auction and the low carbon fuel standard.
The 49-page report, in a nutshell, said the impact of those initiatives will be huge. But as for exactly how much those initiatives will cost us, there’s no telling.
“There is not a single, credible source of analysis and data that can inform companies and policymakers regarding the cumulative costs of California’s recent energy-related policies,” said Patrick Mealoy of the Navigant Consulting group, which was hired by the group to do the analysis.
The group basically called for a timeout from future environmental initiatives until we figure out the effect of these complicated, mandates on our economy.
The umbrella group is made up mostly of trade associations and business organizations, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Business Federation. Naysayers could argue that such a group has a vested interest in trying to scare us into fearing the costs will be much steeper than they are likely to be.
Maybe so, but the group is a good counterpoint to the commissions, environmentalists and others who for years have been saying that the state’s aggressive environmental mandates won’t cost much at all.
We’ll see. The first effect of the 33 percent mandate will soon start showing up in the bills of SoCal Edison customers.