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Opinion: The income-based electricity bill provision is a mistake that will raise your rates. Let’s not shy away from real solutions.

Original post made on Nov 4, 2023

Last year, California passed Assembly Bill 205. Tucked into the bill was a provision requiring the California Public Utilities Commission to make a portion of electricity rates dependent on a household’s income. We have concerns.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 3, 2023, 8:41 PM

Comments (13)

Posted by fourbuds
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2023 at 9:32 am

fourbuds is a registered user.

But you voted for this tax increase. Hopefully voters will remember this fact in November.

Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 4, 2023 at 11:42 am

new guy is a registered user.

Is this what is called "getting ahead of bad press"? Seriously, the excuse of "tucked away" doesn't really work here. You both voted for this. The rest of the words in this OP ED are nothing more than virtue signaling. You offer no solutions to stopping this here. You both have no power over CPUC. The CPUC works on behalf of PG&E, not the ratepayers. You both need to realize that "we" in CA pay the most for practically everything, and will now keep paying more and more. Voters: enjoy paying hundreds to thousands more for electricity, and the taxes on that as well! Not really funny how every time I start trying to conserve/reduce usage of (water, electricity, driving, trash) the rates go up (and more than what I was paying prior).

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 5, 2023 at 7:21 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Seriously? You two voted for this BS. Not to mention I don't see either one of you doing anything about the total lack of proper oversight of PG&E by the CPUC. They are nothing more than a lap dog for the utility. They give them whatever they want. We pay the highest utility bills in the nation and they're going higher. You two are a joke and another example of the gross mismanagement of this state by Democrats.

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 6, 2023 at 12:01 pm

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

Wow, just wow. "We supported this bad bill because we weren't really paying attention." There, I shortened it for you. I'll be voting for ANYONE other than you in the next election.

Posted by ln
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 6, 2023 at 12:46 pm

ln is a registered user.

Marc and Josh:
You both voted for this because it was a Democrat-led bill, and both of you vote the party line. It was a flawed bill, as you both now admit. But, you still voted for it. Why don't you stand up for your constituents and do the right thing for the residents in your districts? We Californians pay the highest energy rates in the country due to your/Democrat policies. The PUC is a joke and never met a rate-hike it didn't approve. If you want to see even more people leave California, please continue to vote for and support more of these hare-brained schemes to raise taxes, energy and water bills and the general cost of living in California. It looks like you are both doing a great job at that!

Next election, please vote these two out and get some people who will do a better job of protecting the voters' pocketbooks.

Posted by bobd
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 7, 2023 at 12:18 pm

bobd is a registered user.

The three monopoly utilities in CA are doing what any for profit business does -- try to increase their profits. In CA, the only place where you can pay more for a KwH of power is Hawaii. This is a disgrace! It is made possible by the PUC allowing the utilities to increase their capital spending (and thus guaranteed return) on projects that are not the lowest cost way to accomplish an objective. For example, undergrounding power lines instead of trimming and removing trees in the utility right of way. Or, decreasing the amount the utility pays for power generated by rooftop solar so that the utility can buy power from large solar and wind farms and large battery storage facilities and then string very expensive new transmission lines to these new renewable power plants. Rooftop solar doesn't need new transmission lines, but it doesn't generate revenue for the utility so it is bad in their eyes. When will our politicians understand how regulated utilities make money?

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 7, 2023 at 12:38 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

The others are correct! Becker & Berman have supported every bill that has driven up our utility costs. Most of their recommendations to reduce your utility bill are based on raising your taxes to pay for their new plans.

The only solution is to fire Becker, Berman & the Public Utility Commission and replace them with rational adults that are loyal to the taxpayers of CA and NOT to their political party. Neither one of these "Civil,Servants" has a next job with the Democratic Party IF they ever vote against the Party bosses in Sacrament & for the residents who pay for everything!

Posted by Peadar
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2023 at 10:05 pm

Peadar is a registered user.

Several commentators are dinging the authors for having voted for this original bill. I'd like to applaud them for realizing that it's a bad bill and working to try to fix it, unlike many politicians who realize - rightly - that voters prefer those who double down on falsehood than those who admit to being wrong.

My understanding is that this was a notorious 'trailer bill', which a large number of last minute amendments that were thrown in at the last minute, such that no reasonable representative would have been able to do due diligence. It was a 'must pass' bill, so I think we should direct our ire at the how our government runs in Sacramento and not at the two people who choose to try to fix one error.

That said, I'd like to invite Becker and Berman back to share with us their plans and dreams to fix the broken decision-making process in Sacramento...

Posted by Herbert
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 8, 2023 at 4:14 am

Herbert is a registered user.

As a lifelong Democrat I am disappointed by your votes. Either abstain or a no vote would have been appropriate! How about offering options ?

Posted by Meg
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Nov 9, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Meg is a registered user.

With the high rates and the terrible service, maybe it would be more cost effective to go off grid. The top end proposed rate hike under SB is about $1300/year (or more). Solar panels are usually guaranteed for 30 years or more. Even without rate increases, you can spend $40k on solar and batterys and come out even on the increase alone. But if you count in the amount your already paying, well there is a lot cash that could be put to off grid solar. Now, I'm guessing rates will keep going up and over the next 30 years, many households will spend well over $100 k for electric power. You can get one very good off grid system for $100k. Plus since PG&E shut down my power multiple times over the last few years, it seems much more reliable to go off grid. What's the down side? Well, the folks who can't invest upfront in off grid will be left with even higher bills to maintain the grid. But I guess the curent crop of Regan Republicans (D) who pretended to be progressive but are really lap dogs for the utilities and developers will just vote for some other stupid bill written by big businesses. I'm not voting for Berman because I am an actual progressive.

Posted by PV Volunteer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 10, 2023 at 1:13 pm

PV Volunteer is a registered user.

Safeway doesn't check my tax return before ringing up the price of a pound of spuds. Nor should PG&E before billing me for energy. If measures such as this are allowed to set a precedent, who knows what will be next. It is also outrageous that they should be privy to this personal information. At the same time, our energy suppliers are restricting resale of locally generated renewable energy. It's time legislators gave proper consideration to the long term unintended consequences. The populist, "progressive" measures are mostly empty promise, providing false hope to those they claim to want to help most

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 10, 2023 at 4:13 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

It is time to realize that the State's PUC and other organizations that are pushing "Only Green Energy" are causing more harm that good. CA's electricity & Natural Gas prices are (next to HI) the highest in the Nation. We need arational Energy Policy that include "prudent" use of natural gas and nuclear power. Our current leadership is focused on "feel good" programs that actually "do bad". Further, the end result of their Programs (All Green Energy, High Speed Rail & Mass Transit for all, etc.) are only driving prices up higher & higher and driving the Middle Class out of CA!

Let's throw out the current leaders!

Posted by EPL
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 14, 2023 at 8:53 am

EPL is a registered user.

I support my representatives in recognizing that there were flaws in the bill and that it needs correcting.

I've been tracking bills in the last couple of years. The bill process is VERY messy. Bills can be changed at the very last minute and there is very little accountability for the changes. Changes in the appropriations committee are very opaque, and the suspend folder process is ... at best, weird.

In this particular case, (a) I have yet to read WHO actually made the change, (b) it is not even clear to me that the law MANDATES the CPUC to instantiate the rates - rather it allows them, which they already did by some measure.

So, KUDOS to our legislators.

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