Op-Ed: California’s giant new batteries kept the lights on during the heat wave
The California Public Utilities Commission has just approved $3 billion in rate increases for Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy over the next three years as needed to keep the lights on in the summer of 2018.
The decision to do so marks the commission’s latest step in responding to the state’s increasing energy demands to keep prices low and grid reliability high.
Southern California Edison, the state’s largest utility, asked the commission last November to approve a $350 million increase. The extra revenue, the company says, will help it meet $4 billion in obligations under its $13 billion contract with the state.
The other big winner is Sempra Energy, the other big utility in the state: the company received approval last week to approve a $1.3 billion increase approved by the utility’s board of directors.
Both the utility companies say they will use the money to improve energy efficiency, add renewable energy, and reduce demand related expenses.
“We are very pleased with the decision today,” said Edison Vice President of Ratepayer Affairs Robert Green.
He added that, while the company expects to continue to be one of the lowest cost electric providers, it’s important to understand that the state’s renewable energy initiative is an opportunity, not a cost.
“In the year ahead, we will continue to look at how to meet the highest customer expectations while reducing cost and risk,” Green said.
“This will allow for us to continue to look at opportunities to deliver more affordable, clean and reliable energy across the state, and to serve the changing needs of our customers in our time of transition.”
The biggest energy user is the Pacific Gas and Electric Co., California’s largest utility, which is a subsidiary of an affiliate of