City officials in Fresno, California, have announced they plan to convene on Friday, January 18, to discuss the high residential electricity rates in the region, and talk about the different options currently available that would bring these rates down.
According to the Fresno Bee, Assembly Members Henry T. Perea and Kristin Olsen will meet with representatives from municipal and state utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric, Sempra Energy and Southern California Edison, as well as members of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Advocates of a new electricity pricing scheme will also be in attendance, representing the Greenlining Institute, Utility Reform Network, Division of Ratepayer Advocates and the Kern County Taxpayers Association. The public will also be invited to offer proposals of ways that would help make electricity more affordable.
The Fresno Business Journal reports thatPacific Gas & Electric customers paid about 15.7 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity in 2011, and in 2013, rates will rise 2.6 percent as the utility looks to install more renewable energy sources. The higher rates will also be used to pay for improved distribution equipment.
Although California went into an energy crisis the first time it introduced energy deregulation, some say that revisiting the idea of a competitive market, and enabling customers with the ability to switch electricity providers, could still work if done correctly.