Last week, I sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Public Utilities Commission to immediately implement measures to alleviate rising energy costs.
The State of California is expected to have at least a $45.7 billion budget surplus in 2022. These are taxpayer dollars that should be used to lower the energy bills for all San Diegans. Read the letter below and I will keep you updated on the progress.
Dear Gov. Newsom: As Supervisor of the Fifth District representing North San Diego County, I am writing to request that the State of California immediately implement measures to alleviate rising energy costs, providing relief to the ratepayers of San Diego.
My office has been contacted by residents concerned with the sudden rise in energy costs and increases in utility rates. My constituents are concerned with their ability to pay for recent increased energy bills, especially seniors who are on fixed incomes.
With already out of control housing costs, gasoline prices, and the cost of goods due to inflation, many San Diegans struggle now more than ever to survive under the weight of these rising costs.
Considering the recent rise in rates, the State of California should review costly energy regulations under the State’s control and provide temporary relief to ratepayers.
Drivers of the recent rate increases include the exorbitant cost of natural gas, renewable energy infrastructure to meet State mandated targets, the growth of public benefit programs which are offset by other ratepayers, and the cost of wildfire mitigation measures.
California is expected to have a $45.7 billion budget surplus in 2022. Part of that surplus should be used for wildfire mitigation measures and renewable infrastructure to meet state goals, relieving ratepayers from the cost burden, and lowering energy bills.
With wildfires now a year-round threat in California, it is imperative that the region continue to invest in infrastructure that reduces the risk of wildfires.
On the backs of local ratepayers, SDG&E has spent $3 billion in the last 10 years to strengthen community resiliency, harden electric grids, and underground powerlines. Investment in infrastructure to reduce the risk of wildfires are ongoing.
However, these costs are funded by local ratepayers, included in monthly energy bills. The State of California should relieve ratepayers by offsetting these projects with state budget-surplus dollars. The State should also look to offset costs of utility-constructed clean power projects.
Again, these also fall on the backs of San Diegans in every SDG&E bill. With more people working from home and increased adoption of personal electric vehicles, reliance on energy will grow.
To many working San Diegans, and those such as seniors on fixed incomes, the recent 24.6% jump in gas rates and 7.8% increase in electricity rates are more than they can afford…in an already expensive California. The State’s budget surplus comes from taxpayers, many of whom have suffered mightily from a pandemic, losing their job and seeing gas prices rise dramatically.
Let’s give it back to the taxpayers by lowering their energy bills. I urge you to act now to lower energy bills for San Diegans.
Jim Desmond represents the 5th District on the County Board of Supervisors.