Saturday , September 30 2023

California’s Self-Inflicted Energy Woes

San Bernardino residents, and Californians as a whole, are again being asked to “Flex their Power” in an effort to prevent electrical outages during another hot summer evening.

For long-time residents of the Inland Empire, hot summers are not particularly unusual.  Our forefathers have been living here for hundreds of years, thousands if you are of Native American descent.

Over the past half century, we have become more accustomed to our air conditioning units.  But for the sake of history, central AC units didn’t become standard fare in new houses until 1970.  Those systems were giant, power sucking monstrosities compared to our current AC units and our power grid wasn’t designed with them in mind.  Somehow the lights stayed on and electricity remained cheap.

During the last century though, California entrepreneurs, public utilities, government agencies and private businesses built massive generation facilities like Hoover Dam and the gargantuan transmission lines necessary to get that power across states and counties.  Local generation facilities popped up all over California along with local distribution grids that linked with those transmission lines to power our homes and businesses.

This electricity powered California’s massive economic expansion beginning back in the 1950’s and all the way through the 1990’s at low cost to consumers with very few issues.

Somehow, California managed to provide inexpensive electricity without systemic power outages or the modern “Flex Alert” where public utilities turn off residential AC units (AC cycling program), start turning up the temperature on your WIFI thermostats, and ask the public to reduce their electricity consumption at the most inconvenient time of day from 5 to 10 PM.

You would think that with all these conservation programs, efficiency mandates and new technologies that electricity would be cheaper, more abundant and more available than ever before?  You would obviously be wrong.

California’s electricity rates are now 4th highest in the Continental United States, and rising.  This would be acceptable, perhaps, if our systems were not falling into disrepair and the state wasn’t constantly facing power shortages.  That is simply not the case.  Our electric grid is not only falling apart, it is causing massive wildfires as well.  Apparently, 100-year-old transmission lines require occasional maintenance and distribution grids can’t be ignored for 50 years either.

Couple this with the shutdown of local power plants and two carbon-free nuclear power plants, along with the replacement of these electricity sources with intermittent (and failing) solar and wind farms hundreds of miles away, and the problem of providing abundant, reliable and inexpensive electricity to California consumers becomes self-explanatory.

California, the tech hub of the world, can’t seem to efficiently keep its lights on, let alone meet the self-declared demands it is placing on itself, especially since California wants to make everything you own and operate run off of electricity from your stove, to your water heater, to your automobile.

California has completely manufactured an electricity shortage along with jacking up our rates AND providing unreliable electric resources at the very same time they want to increase electrical demand.

The Public Utilities Commission, private and public utilities, and your state government have known about this reckoning for decades.  Instead of solving this problem like Californians 50 years ago would have, they just continue to pile onto the bill hoping to save the world from carbon emissions while throwing millions of middle class and lower income residents into energy poverty, wildfires and power outages.

But hey, they will be happy to turn off your AC for you so wealthy people who don’t care so much about their utility bills can virtue-signal you with their Teslas.

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