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Solar electricity production. (Photo: energy.ca.gov)

California Going Full Commie: ‘Designing Electricity Rates for An Equitable Energy Transition’

Income-based utility billing is the latest assault on the productive in California

By Katy Grimes, April 16, 2023 2:30 am

Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric filed a proposal on Thursday that would install a fixed-rate electric bill system for those under the three largest power companies in the state, the Globe reported. Talk about burying the lede. The real plan is to create income-based utility billing.

Currently, utility bills are based on electricity and gas consumption. The utility companies are now proposing income-based utility billing so that higher-income earners pay for more than they use, subsidizing the rates for lower income customers.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” Karl Marx wrote in his Communist Manifesto. In a nutshell, Marx said productive, hard-working and successful people must sacrifice to less productive, and unproductive people.

The State of California, the California Legislature and California Gov. Gavin Newsom are punishing productive successful people. Again. And they are saying the quiet parts out loud.

“Human beings have choice, and some people choose to work really hard and be productive,” Alex Epstein, author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and Fossil Future said in a recent interview. “And the idea [of socialism] is: they get punished. They get limitless theoretical punishment to the extent that somebody else, deliberately or not, doesn’t succeed.”

The pilgrims learned this lesson fairly quickly when they arrived in America in 1620:

The settlers created a communal society where they received their clothing, food, and supplies from the colony’s “common stock” according to their needs. The profits of labor were divided equally rather than by what was earned through hard work.

This system quickly led to discontent: The healthy and able-bodied colonists who worked in the fields all day began to resent the colonists who performed zero labor.

After about two years of famine and disaffection, the Pilgrims finally had a meeting and abandoned the socialist system. The colony’s new system required each family to take care of themselves, and made the settlers personally responsible for their own means of survival. There was no “common stock” to provide for them. This led to the entire colony becoming more prosperous—those who earlier claimed to be infirm became motivated and industrious, with men, women, and youth alike working in the fields eager to reap the benefits of their labor. The only way for a society to prosper as a whole is through hard work and personal responsibility, not through promises of equal outcomes.

This idea for “equitable energy rates” isn’t exactly new, but it’s important to note that the Pilgrims figured out that Socialism doesn’t work 228 years before Karl Marx’s flawed Manifesto.

A 2021 report from the University of California at Berkeley recommends that the state link California’s highest-in-the-nation electricity bills to customer incomes – ie. your ability to pay.

Authors Severin Borenstein (an economist), Meredith Fowlie, and Jim Sallee of the UC Berkeley and the Energy Institute at Haas admit that California’s electricity rates are so high, lower-income households pay a larger share of their income on electricity.

California has the highest electricity rates in the country. “Those costs could rise even faster over the next decade, as utilities harden their grids against wildfires, grow their share of net-metered rooftop solar and add other costs that will be passed through to utility customers,” Next 10 reported over two years ago – a non-profit which supports “ambitious environmental goals” and “Electricity Rates for An Equitable Energy Transition.”

“But recovering those costs by charging customers by the kilowatt-hour pushes too much of the burden on those least able to pay,” so to combat this, rather than using all available energy sources to create energy abundance, the Berkeley report proposes “cutting back on the volumetric per-kilowatt-hour charges on customers’ bills and recovering the missing money through constructs tied to customers’ income.”

California is rich in natural resources which once powered the state: natural gas deposits in the Monterey Shale formation; geothermal energy, abundant rivers and waterways such as the San Joaquin River Delta and hydroelectric dams; the Pacific coastline; 85 million acres of wildlands with 17 million of those used as commercial timberland; and mines and mineral resources.

The Berkeley report revealed approximately eight million residents currently owe money to investor-owned utilities, according to a recent presentation by the California Public Utility Commission.

Berkeley’s recommendation: “Alternatively, infrastructure and public purpose investment costs could be recovered via income-based fixed charges paired with an efficient volumetric price that reflects the social marginal cost.”

And here is Berkeley’s Conclusion in full Socialist/Marxist speak:

  • In California, volumetric electricity rates are used to raise revenues for climate mitigation, infrastructure investments, wildfire mitigation, etc.
  • This amounts to a highly regressive tax with negative implications for both efficiency and equity. Other states and countries are, unfortunately, following California’s lead in this policy as well.
  • Changing the way costs are recovered to reduce electricity rates can help ensure affordable and attractive electricity consumption as we look to rapidly increase usage on the path to decarbonization.
  • Paying for most non-marginal costs through government budget or income-based fixed charges would improve equity by lightening the burden of cost recovery on households that can least afford to pay.

“Customers who can afford rooftop solar systems, behind-the-meter batteries or other distributed energy resources to offset those rising rates may be able to mitigate them, the CPUC noted. But that will leave customers without those resources on the other side of a ‘growing divide in the cost of service.’”

Borenstein wrote:

Last fall, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) began a new regulatory process to revisit the state’s net energy metering (NEM) policies for rooftop solar and other behind-the-meter generation. Since it was adopted in the 1990s, NEM has been a big factor driving residential solar adoption. For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) that a customer injects into the grid, NEM reduces one-for-one the kWhs of electricity the customer has to pay for at retail rates. Effectively, the utility is buying power from customers at the full residential retail rate, rather than the much lower wholesale market price that other suppliers are paid.

With nearly 200,000 wealthier-than-average California customers now installing solar every year, and the state even mandating them for new homes, that reckoning has arrived. The CPUC is stuck between the inequity rock of generally-poorer ratepayers continuing to subsidize rooftop solar adopters and the political-blowback hard place of phasing out NEM, which would mean paying the solar households something much closer to the wholesale price for their exports to the grid.

Californians were forced into rooftop solar when the California Legislature passed a law mandating solar on all new construction, whether homeowners wanted it or not. One of the incentives was to offer purchase of a backup battery to store extra power, allowing the consumer to sell that extra electricity back to the utility. Now, after the homeowner paid for a very expensive  rooftop solar system and backup battery, the CPUC backed out of the deal.

Borenstein called this “‘perverse incentives’ created by the huge gap between the retail price and the utility’s cost of supplying additional power to the customer.”

The bottom line, and real goal of the radical environmentalists is to make electricity so expensive, homeowners will be forced to initiate self-blackouts of electric appliances during certain times of day, and electric car owners won’t be able to afford the high costs to keep them charged.

Environmentalists have no special love for electric cars – they just want everyone out of cars. So if they can make electricity so expensive that people can’t afford to drive electric cars, well then good.

And this is done by limiting energy sources rather than using an all-of-the-above approach to energy production in California: Oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar and wind.

If all we are allowed to use is renewable energy for electricity production – a deliberate energy shortage – statewide shortages and rolling blackouts inevitably become the new California normal. We are being conditioned to accept this as normal by some very evil leaders.

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46 thoughts on “California Going Full Commie: ‘Designing Electricity Rates for An Equitable Energy Transition’

  1. Yep, they are going full speed ahead, trying to outpace the people who can stop them-as we grow in numbers. We win by waking up everybody we possibly can-AND getting our elections hand counted. People will happily line up to volunteer to hand count the Nov 2024 ballots.
    Word of the year Pretext:
    “A reason or excuse given to hide the real reason for something.
    That which is assumed as a cloak or means of concealment; something under cover of which a true purpose is hidden; an ostensible reason, motive, or occasion; a pretense.”
    We can predict their next moves. These individuals are all the same: flat, lifeless, with limited thinking capacities, all follower types decapitated with fear of thinking/acting independently of the narratives they are given-in short-lunatics.
    So how do we defeat them and get their (not theirs) ideas out of Ca once and for all?
    They are following in lockstep the only “gods” they know Marx, Alisnky, Cloward-Piven, WEF/UN,Agenda 30.
    We are 18 months. 21 days away from the election. What do we propose to do about it?

  2. To each according to their needs. Yup. You may get fixed rates depending on your income but the catch is they will also determine what your “needs” are and they won’t be much at all (according to them). Count on it.

    1. It’s interesting when you see that the cost of this so called pollution free energy is so damn expensive most cannot afford it. But the fix is in on it already. Just raise the price of oil and gas and eventually your cost will be competitive. Bingo! You’re in.

      1. To the contrary, renewable energy is super cheap because you don’t have to pay for the fuel to run the generator.
        As economies of scale have reduced the price of these components, fossil fuels (and their complicated supply chains subject to price shocks) will *never again be able to compete*.

        Unlike a coal, natural gas, or nuclear plant, renewables like solar and wind inherently have zero fuel costs. These resources are the future.

  3. “lower-income households pay a larger share of their income on electricity.”
    That holds true with any necessity. I always cut back or do without if I can’t afford something.

  4. “The latest assault on the productive in California”

    Sorry, being high income is not remotely the same thing as “productive.”

  5. “rather than using all available energy sources to create energy abundance”

    Uh… you just threw that in there and assumed it made any sense. What other sources do you suggest? Would they still meet absolutely, clearly necessary climate goals? Would they be politically feasible with NIMBY’s (think: nuclear)? Wouldn’t the build out still cost ratepayers money any way you look at it?

    Yes we need lower electricity rates by producing more, cheaper electricity. The most likely way to do that is massively more renewable generation and grid scale storage. It meets all goals. And it is a society wide change not just the burden of ratepayers. It should be heavily subsidized by taxes instead of a pay as you go system (which is what *practically* ends up necessitating progressive pricing schemes, not some ideological agenda).

    1. John,
      in the article we name “natural gas deposits in the Monterey Shale formation; geothermal energy, abundant rivers and waterways such as the San Joaquin River Delta and hydroelectric dams; the Pacific coastline; 85 million acres of wildlands with 17 million of those used as commercial timberland; and mines and mineral resources,” as just a few. Clean nuclear power is another.

  6. Best I can think of for now is to share this nonsense with all of your friends…including those that are not in Ca. Ask them to share with all of their friends and incentivize them by saying this most likely will come your way if not stopped here. Also stipulate that if this takes hold what will keep “them” from doing the same with our gasoline, movie tickets, etc. God save America!

    1. Bob, I agree, this is a very good idea for now. Blast this article out to every last person and platform you can think of. Publicize the heck out of their creepy evil plan. There may be more we can do to put the brakes on it as a practical matter, but let’s start with getting it out there. Before they swallow us whole.

  7. What a concept that we might pay our bills according to how we perceive the Government ‘needs’ the income. If we call just pay say, 30% of the increased bill because we don’t deem they need more, then let’s see how this communist thing works out…

  8. This is INFURIATING. So what do we do now? Which CORRUPT entity or agency do we badger to put a stop to this? Edison? PG&E? San Diego Gas & Electric? The CPUC?
    Having attended energy portfolio meetings in my ridiculous city once upon a time long ago, back when they were taking the first steps to switch over to renewables and to recklessly toss out the multi-year contract with the clean coal-fired plants (in UTAH!) you won’t be surprised to hear that in the end they did exactly what they wanted to do in the first place. Didn’t matter how crazy or un-do-able or expensive it was going to be. GREEN had become a religion. As you know. Strong and good arguments against it in person, by letter, by email, whatever, fell entirely on deaf ears. The “commission” led by the mayor was taking its orders directly from the local radical Marxist Sierra Club representative. I once witnessed this guy LITERALLY whispering in the mayor’s ear.
    By the way, what I remember about people who installed solar is that yes, some might have been richer than the average person, but most were actually status seekers; GREEN status seekers. “I’m 100% off the grid,” they used to boast. A large percentage of solar was govt subsidized at the time. And as far as I know continued to be until quite recently —- right? —- thus those who installed it took advantage of that and weren’t necessarily rich.
    And now here we are. This is a disaster. It won’t go well. Obviously. Another case of these evil idiots placing us in a very bad position (with the result that utilities inevitably became more and more unaffordable for most over time) and then blaming us for what they themselves created. This was THEIR doing in the first place, whether by design or screw-up, not OURS. And now they are taking advantage of it in the most radical, unworkable way one could possibly imagine.
    Would love to hear any practical suggestions for how this monster can be killed.

  9. “We are being conditioned to accept this as normal by some very evil leaders.” – The people of California have only themselves to thank for having elected those same “very evil leaders”!!!!!! – THE_MAD_BOMBER, Danbury, Connecticut

    1. Californians did not vote for them. Did you learn nothing from 2020? I will also say to you, the same thing I say to people who tell me to get out of California. You can’t move away from The Cult. It’s international, and it’s appetites are bottomless. It will pursue you. My best friend, who relocated to Tennessee, is now being reminded of this fact, much to his chagrin. What happens in the PRK, does not stay here. Seventeen states (soon to be more than twenty) have already signed binding agreements with CARB (California Air Resources Board) to enforce California’s vehicle emissions standards in their own states – including electric car mandates. Your state of Connecticut became a signatory in 2004 (https://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-economy/carb4.htm).

  10. Yup, born & raised (way before “Useless Newsome” btw…) in the beautiful State of California…been watching this State for all of my 65 years get turned from an environmental flourishing utopia into a disgusting and evil Marxist state…Disgusting & deplorable leaders and current state of affairs. And there it is, PG &E (Pacific Graft & Extortion) running amuck with “ideals” that would make our Founding Fathers ( oh yeah, founding Mothers & whateves”…I mean, WTF, let’s stay 110% “woke” here…barf..) vomit up this insidious bile…After a lifetime here, I’m not leaving! THEY are the the ones who need to leave MY state…just get the fuck out and take your insane politics and totalitarian communist bullshit with you! Please, I’m begging you…GET OUT! We, the True Patriots in California (way more than you probably think, btw…) don’t need your psychotic “social and energy engineering” anymore…We’re DONE with this bullcrap. Good riddance..
    CLG, LtCol, USAF/CA ANG (RET.)

  11. Marxist Democrats and their minions in the state controlled utility companies are driving productive tax paying Californians out of the state.

  12. “The California Public Utilities Commission would have to approve the proposal and make a final decision by mid-2024. If approved, the fixed-rate bills could be in effect as soon as 2025.”
    Below is the CPUC contact page FYI. Between now and “mid-2024,” preferably “now,” it sure seems as though we need to write to them with our deep concerns about this. The more the better. This nonsense will spread beyond energy if not stopped, don’t you think?
    Contacting the CPUC:

  13. Being a senior citizen on a fixed income this would benefit my wife and me and, but NO THANKS! This is a very slippery slope towards communism.

  14. California has the highest electricity rates in the country. “Those costs could rise even faster over the next decade, as utilities harden their grids against wildfires, grow their share of net-metered rooftop solar and add other costs that will be passed through to utility customers,”
    Please excuse my laughter but this was supposed to be cheaper than dirt, it’s been advertised over and over again as cheaper than so called Fossil Fuels, not to mention that modern life without Petroleum is impossible, where does anyone think that PLASTICS comes from????? The fact that the whole thing is highly subsidized to begin with and has an entire mish-mash of formulas etc era to find YOUR billing rates. There are no more excuses or justifications, it’s all been one big lie, to grab power to guide the world to perfection as these useful idiots push and push but never have to prove.

  15. I think these are pertinent facts:
    – Utility companies will be paid by someone
    – California politicians have inundated the state with the poor, the homeless, the unproductive and illegal aliens
    – Elections are not free and fair in California. Politicians do not care what you think or how you vote
    – You will submit to communism and call it “equity”

    1. …and that folks is California in a nutshell!
      Marxism disguised as progressivism
      Why bother with an electric car and home charger? It will end up costing much more than you bargained for and that is if the grid holds up. Spoiler alert, it will not hold up.

      Equity means we all lose!

      1. How true! Marxism renamed/disguised as progressivism.
        Their so called “Equity” means everyone will be reduced to being equally poor and reduced to their common denominator of “Inclusion” in that so called “Equity”.
        I am as fed up with this as you are even though I don’t live in Commiefornia.

  16. I am strongly against the subscription style pricing that energy companies want to impose. However, please avoid labeling things as “communism” because it makes you lose credibility. California’s energy companies are corporations that want to maximize profits at the expense of consumers. This is not some grand communist plan. This is 100 percent profit motivated. Furthermore, nobody was forced into solar. Everyone was free to buy or not buy a new home. Even then, the new pro energy NEM plan is only affecting new solar customers after April of this year. Please inform yourself when commenting on these subjects.

    1. Steve, as we reported, using an income-based utility billing system rather than billing based on consumption is the very definition of Marxism, Socialism, Communism, Collectivism – all impose to state ownership. The opposite is capitalism and Democracy. As we reported, this proposal is a result of AB 205, which was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in June of last year ostensibly to simplify the electric bill system, as well as impose the fixed rates.
      Furthermore, new home builders are forced into solar. It is now a state mandate on all new home construction. The state is driving this bus.

      1. @Steve, if you feel that the word “communism” is outdated or inappropriate then feel free to use “progressivism” instead. They are synonymous. Progressives are Neo-Communists. You seem to have trouble accepting this reality. Perhaps you will wake up to this when it finally impacts your pocketbook more directly; if you own stocks and bonds, gold, a home, an IRA, or a 401k plan. The communists (per Ms. Grimes) are now planning to go after unrealized capital gains. Think of the consequences that would impact yourself. When California Communist activists talk about taxing the wealthy, they are including YOU (the middle class) along WITH multi-millionaires like Elon Musk: https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2020/08/24/grab-your-wallet-public-employee-unions-want-cali.html

      2. Right you are! Your article is spot on, well written and using words that now must be said. These words that are being redefined were written about by the likes of Huxley, Orwell, and Alinsky. Your on my Rock star list. Heard about your article from the A&G show. You should give them a call. Rock on!

      3. Of course, those who will be most deeply impacted by this, are also those who have the means to leave. However, the parasites in Sacramento have already been thinking about this:



        While the wealth tax bill in unlikely to pass, the Forbes article shows that some of its provisions are already being enforced through regulatory shenanigans. It will get worse. I’ve been hearing stories of people trying to leave with their pets, or certain items such as trailered classic cars, being stopped at the state line through questionable enforcement of regulations, but I have not been able to confirm this. Perhaps the Globe can shed some light on that.

  17. What comes next?

    Mules and horses come next. Rolling blackouts? How about power only during certain parts of the day, only in built up downtowns or at politically connected “essential” businesses (like cloud data centers and TV stations).

    The disposal of manure, purchasing and distribution of quality hay and forage, veterinary services and pasture – these will all become very important to many Californians along with personal security and inter-tribal politics and warfare.

    I would say “bank on it” but banks will mostly evaporate into a web-site/app controlled by a proxy for the Federal Reserve. Be a real shame if the power got spotty to those data centers though, huh?

  18. Fixed monthly basic service rates that offer unlimited electricity to consumers on the basis of their income will create a compelling incentive for some people to carry out large-scale cryptocurrency mining in their homes at artificially low costs, which will collapse the power grid?

    1. The fixed amount will be for “just being a customer”. The same scheme is used here by our local water dept. – there’s a fixed amount you pay no matter if you use zero gallons of water or a million. You pay the fixed amount regardless, then an amount based on water usage. They call it (euphemistically) a “meter charge”, but it’s just a money grab. This year, they announced (their words) a “multi-year” rate schedule (meaning a multi-year rate INCREASE). It’s the same story with the electric rates. They weren’t getting enough for the “meter charge”, so they want more – much more. They’ve already jacked KW/h rates to the highest in the country, so instead of continuing to raise them as fast, they’ll just raise the “meter charge” (or whatever name they decided to cloak in in) instead. Same effect, but hidden from sight, but very unlike gas station pricing, which blasts to everyone how much it’s gone up since yesterday.

  19. To pay for this ridiculous scheme the rich would have to pay tens of thousands per month for their power. Are there upper income tiers as well?

  20. I left CA right after those morons elected Gruesom the first time. Why haven’t all the intelligent people left there yet. CA people are too stupid to even stand up and fight back with their 2A rights as our founders stated they should. Hang that crapbag libtard commie!

  21. My local utility company in California recently implemented a brand new rate structure and I think it may be illegal.

    To set the base rate for residential customers, they basically took the average amount of electricity used by your household annually over the past three years and compared it to the overall average of all residential customers. An “average” home gets a base rate of $50 per month. So if you’re a household of 4 and your three-year average electricity use was twice as much as the overall average, you get stuck with a base rate of $100 per month. Then after that, every household pays the exact same rate per kilowatt hour.

    I’m the only full time resident in a condo building where every unit is identical. The other units are second homes or vacation rentals. Because I live in the community full time, my electric use is obviously higher and the end result is I’m being forced to pay a base rate that is FOUR TIMES the rate of every other identical condo in the same building. Feels like this is illegal under Public Utilities Code 453. Any energy experts out there?

  22. Those of us who’ve made good choices in life will paying the electric bills of those who have not. This is how we’re rewarded in Communist California.
    The day this goes into effect, those of us with solar need to shut off our systems for a day in protest. I’d love to see the havoc that would create.

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