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Palomar Energy Center. (Photo: San Diego Gas and Electric)

California Energy Prices Continue to Rise Higher Than Other States

The average 2020 annual residential electricity bill was 25.9% higher than in 2010

By Katy Grimes, August 6, 2020 4:57 pm

The Center for Jobs and the Economy at the California Business Roundtable reports that California gas and energy prices continued to rise higher in July than nearly all other states. “These outcomes mean that even as many households struggle under the current economic conditions, the state’s energy policies continue to take an increasing share of household incomes both directly in gasoline and utility bills and indirectly as these costs are incorporated into the prices of every other component of the costs of living,” the Center for Jobs and the Economy reported.

Just over one year ago in June 2019, California Globe reported that the Sacramento Municipal Utility District began charging Sacramento electricity users and ratepayers a new rate system that charges residential users higher rates between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m… much higher rates, just in time to get home from work, feed the family, do a couple loads of laundry, bathe the kiddies, maybe vacuum a room or two, and watch a little Netflix.

These new summer “peak” rates appear to be about 40% – 200% higher, looking at the bill.

Most Californians already know that for every tank of gas, $10 of the total cost is state-imposed gas taxes, thanks to Senate Bill 1, signed into law by then Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017, which increased the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon, and increased automobile registration fees by more than $175. SB 1 said, “Over the next 10 years, the state faces a $59 billion shortfall to adequately maintain the existing state highway system in order to keep it in a basic state of good repair.”

The gas tax increase was estimated to generate $54 billion over a decade. In November of 2018, voters rejected Proposition 6, the gas tax repeal.

This year, my Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) bill claims I’m using 74% more energy than I did last year at this time, yet the weather has been quite mild for summer in Sacramento. There is no possible way my husband and I are using 74% more energy in our home than last year.

This is a great report by Center for Jobs and the Economy at the California Business Roundtable:

California vs. US Fuel Price Gap at 48.9% Premium

$1.04

Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The July average price per gallon of regular gasoline in California rose 12 cents from June to $3.15. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($2.12) rose to $1.04, a 48.9% difference.

2nd

Ranked by price

In July, California had the 2nd highest gasoline price among the states and DC, behind only Hawaii. Californians paid $1.31 a gallon more than consumers in Mississippi, the state with the lowest price.

California vs. US Diesel Price

$0.97

Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The July average price per gallon of diesel in California rose 3 cents from June to $3.34. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($2.37) rose to 97.2 cents, a 41.0% difference.

2nd

Ranked by price

In July, California had the 2nd highest diesel price among the states and DC, behind only Hawaii.

Range Between Highest and Lowest Prices by Region

$1.12

Price per Gallon
Above US Average
(Bay Area Region)

The cost premium above the US (other than California) average price for regular gasoline ranged from $0.94 in the Central Valley Region (average July price of $3.06), to $1.12 in Bay Area Region (average July price of $3.24).

California Residential Electricity Price

55.8%

Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Residential Price for the 12 months ended May 2020 was 19.69 cents/kWh, staying at 55.8% higher than the US average of 12.64 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s residential prices remained the 7th highest in the nation.

California Residential Electric Bill

25.9%

Growth Since 2010

For the 12 months ended May 2020, the average annual Residential electricity bill in California was $1,251, or 25.9% higher ($257) than the comparable bill in 2010 (the year the AB 32 implementation began with the Early Action items). In this same period, the average US (less CA) electricity bill for all the other states grew only 1.6% ($22).

Residential bills, however, vary widely by region, with the estimated annual household usage in 2018 as much as 59% higher in the interior regions compared to the milder climate coastal areas.

$6.2b

Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended May 2020, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Residential ratepayers paying $6.2 billion more than the average ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy. Compared to the lowest rate state (Louisiana), California ratepayers paid an additional $9.0 billion.

California Commercial Electricity Price

70.8%

Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Commercial Price for the 12 months ended May 2020 was 17.18 cents/kWh, 70.8% higher than the US average of 10.06 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s commercial prices remained the 3rd highest in the nation.

California Industrial Electricity Price

117.0%

Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Industrial Price for the 12 months ended May 2020 was 13.82 cents/kWh, 117.0% higher than the US average of 6.37 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s industrial prices remained the 5th highest in the nation.

$11.2b

Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended May 2020, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paying $11.2 billion more than ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy. Compared to the lowest rate states, California businesses paid an additional $14.7 billion.

California Natural Gas Prices

Average prices ($ per thousand cubic feet) for the 12 months ended May 2020 and changes from the previous 12-month period for each end user:

Residential Commercial Industrial
CA, May 2020 $13.73 $9.34 $7.50
CA, May 2019 $13.08 $9.16 $7.66
Change 5.0% 2.0% -2.1%
Rest of US, May 2020 $10.27 $7.34 $3.04
Rest of US, May 2019 $10.31 $7.69 $3.92
Change -0.4% -4.6% -22.4%
CA premium over Rest of US, May 2020 33.7% 27.2% 146.7%
CA premium over Rest of US, May 2019 26.9% 19.1% 95.4%
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15 thoughts on “California Energy Prices Continue to Rise Higher Than Other States

  1. Astronomical energy prices are a direct result of the so-called energy policies in California. To sum them up in one word I would say “punishment”. This comes from a belief that people are bad for merely existing and living out their lives. Anything that makes life harder will be enthusiastically promoted in Sacramento.

  2. California Government has said NO to nuclear, oil or gas fired generation thus we will continue to see electric rates rise dramatically as generating stations are taken out of service. Solar and wind will never be a reliable energy source for the California resident.

  3. People are leaving Ca in huge flocks due to the state government and how they rip off the people there. Energy rates will only continue to go up until nobody can afford it. Wind & Solar are a great supplement for energy but will never be reliable 100% and is only viable now due to government subsidies (our tax dollars) to cover costs. States that push natural gas out will eventually be sorry they did. Its a great energy source that’s cheap and safe to use.

  4. I saw the claim in this article that the average power bill runs about $100 a month. I wonder how they arrive at that number because if you live where it is hot (almost all of CA) your AC is going to run the bill up to $400 or more even in a fairly small house.

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