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SMUD Utility ‘Summer Rates’ Surge To Accommodate Increasing Renewable Cost Subsidies

A new rate system charges residential users higher rates between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

By Katy Grimes, June 25, 2019 2:07 am

On June 1st, 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.

SMUD says the goal is to “reduce energy usage,” but they don’t say why. Instead they make suggestions like “start or program your dishwasher, washing machine or clothes dryer to run and finish before 5 p.m. or to start after 8 p.m., or schedule these chores for any time on the weekend when all hours are at the lowest off-peak price.”

Here is why SMUD needs to lower usage at a higher rate: “We’re committed to providing customers with 60% renewable energy by 2030. And by continuing to add renewables like solar, wind, biomass and geothermal, we plan to be net-zero GHG by 2040.”

And, SMUD is “The first large California utility to have 20% of its power come from resources classified as renewable by the state. We’re on track to exceed 33% by 2020.”

SMUD is “The state’s first carbon reduction goals. We’re committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.”

SMUD is “A non-carbon power mix of more than 50% when hydroelectricity is factored in. That figure will approach 80% by 2030.”

The summer peak rates are intended to hurt ratepayers and energy users. Subsidies for solar and solar generating primarily during those hours is double payment from ratepayers.

How else could SMUD afford the subsidies of renewables mandates?  They simply do not want ratepayers to use electricity during those hours.

“We are being challenged through changes like Assembly Bill 32, which lays the groundwork for California’s comprehensive approach to reducing GHG emissions,” SMUD wrote in its Environmental-Sustainability Roadmap 2020. “Utilities and businesses across the state are challenged to change the way they operate and to avoid emerging business risks. In response, SMUD has already started to shift to generating more renewable power from solar and wind to reduce emissions and support resilience.” But nowhere in this “Roadmap” did SMUD explain the energy mix.

Summer ‘Peak’ Rates

For SMUD’s energy mix, I had to go to SMUD’s Power Sources:

SMUD is heavily invested in wind and solar due to legislative mandates, two important but unreliable energy sources, which require traditional electricity backup.

The reason the utility company is charging the higher rates is because of the increasing legislative mandates; all utilities must now increase renewable energy in the traditional mix, but it just isn’t sustainable. Renewable energy like wind and solar, is intermittent and unreliable. All renewable energy plans require the backup of the regular energy grid of traditional electricity sources from coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, and hydroelectric power. However, these traditional energy sources have been eliminated legislatively from the “clean” energy sources, and are not factored into the mix of renewable energy… despite being clean sources.

Ratepayer are left holding the bills.

California Globe will contact SMUD for additional information about the legislative mandates, and increasing renewables and rate increases, for a series of articles about California’s increasing energy costs.

Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?
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12 thoughts on “SMUD Utility ‘Summer Rates’ Surge To Accommodate Increasing Renewable Cost Subsidies

  1. Why are they using power that is unaffordable when Hydro and natural gas are cheap, non-polluting and available.. We are being ripped off to enrich the democrat donor class and Gavin ain’t doing anything to change this theft.

  2. “All renewable energy plans require the backup of the regular energy grid of traditional electricity sources from coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, and hydroelectric power. ” NO THEY DON’T! Geothermal Energy is a local resource that is woefully under-developed. California is the number one producer of electricity from hot water and steam IN THE WORLD (good for national security!).

    Geothermal Energy provides power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I urge Katy Grimes to read up on the one, clean, dependable renewable energy.

    1. You mean like the Bottle Rock and South Geyers geothermal projects near Napa Valley? Last I heard the City of Santa Rosa and water ratepayers in Southern California (MWD) were paying to bail it out.
      Another example of a token renewable energy that needs subsidies to stay alive.

    2. You’re mistaken. That is not considered renewable. The solar and wind industries have lobbied and paid off enough politicians so that only solar and wind can be considered renewable. Therefore to meet thier unrealistic goals, they have to raise prices

  3. “Mid-peak”, I thought I was paying attention to all the customer info SMUD was sending over the last year, but I somehow missed the “Mid-peak” rates.

    I guess I’ll only run my Pool Pump until noon, so much for the solar panel I put in to heat my pool water (not)
    pfffft.
    This is a load of F-ing CRAP. Where are my C.A.R.B. logo knee-pads cause I think I’m about to get bent over.

  4. It’s way past time to drop all of this greenhouse gas/climate change nonsense anyway. For all of California’s strangling control and unaffordable unreliable renewables, it’s not helping.
    But we knew that already, didn’t we?
    “Climate Change: For more than a decade, California has won high praise from environmentalists for its stringent greenhouse gas restrictions. But a new report shows that despite the enormous costs of this effort, the state is doing a worse job at cutting CO2 emissions than the rest of the country, while badly hurting its working families.”
    “California’s Costly Global Warming Campaign Turns Out To Be Worse Than Useless”
    https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/climate-change-california-co2-emissions-economy/

  5. I want to buy one of “dem” newsome Solar Roofs if they ever develop and field dem to us so we may jettison PG@E. Wait, I’ve got a better idea. Sell and exodus out back to the east coast. Live like a king.

  6. While SMUD’s rates still appear lower than the current rates Edison charges in Orange county, reduced power consumption during certain parts of the day reminds me of when I traveled to a few 3rd world countries decades ago when I was a teenager.

  7. Peak usage electricity really does cost more. A lot more. This is extremely standard stuff. It’s not discrimination or “wanting to hurt” anyone. Step outside your bubble.

  8. The bill in the photo shows 1,028 kWh used prior year that cost $159. If you add it all up, the current bill is 1,136 kWh for $192. That is 15.5¢ per kWh versus 17.2¢ per kWh. It only increased 13%, a far cry from “40-200%” written in the article.

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