Monday, December 3, 2012

Electricity rates to rise for Southern California Edison customers

This has disaster written all over it. 

The 5% increase for 2012 — providing the Rosemead company with $5.7 billion in revenue — is less than the 16.6% the company had sought. Rates, however, are estimated to rise an additional 6.3% for 2013 and 5.9% in 2014 under the PUC order.

"This decision ensures that SCE is able to invest in smart energy systems, renewables and safety and reliability, while its ratepayers are protected," PUC Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon said.
This rate increases averages out, roughly, to 6%.  Using the rule of 72s the rate would double in 12 years.

"California manufacturers already pay 50% higher electricity rates than the national average," said Gino Di Caro, a spokesman for the California Manufacturers & Technology Assn. "Obviously, energy costs are one of the primary budgetary items for any manufacturing operation, and this is all the more reason for California to find ways to offset these costs."
Wow.  50% higher!  And that's now.

I linked to this report from Germany where the high electricity costs was hitting the poor exceptionally hard.  Germany, like California, subsidizes renewable energy costs with higher rates paid by the public.
About 200,000 recipients of Hartz IV, Germany's benefits program for the long-term unemployed, had their power cut off last year because of unpaid bills, according to Paritätische Gesamtverband, an umbrella association for social movements in Germany.

The consumer protection organization for the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia estimates that number to be as high as 600,000 per year. Ulrike Mascher, president of VdK, an interest group focusing on social justice, uses terms such as "fuel poverty" and a "blatant violation of fundamental social rights," when talking about the issue.

Meanwhile, the next price hikes are just around the corner. "The cost of electricity will rise, there's no question about that," says Jochen Homann, head of Germany's state-run Federal Network Agency.

The federal Economy Ministry calculates internally that prices will increase by between three and five euro cents per kilowatt hour within the next 12 months, in order to finance renewable energy subsidies and grid expansion. Those increases amount to an additional annual burden of between €105 and €175 ($130 and $220) for a family of three.

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