| Blog Post

Soaring utility bills slam working-class Californians

Deploying more rooftop solar will reduce transmission and distribution costs for California’s electricity grid, which lowers utility bills and reduces wildfire risk. Photo by Canva.

Californians recently got slapped with yet another electricity rate hike. PG&E is blaming the hike on the cost of burying 1,200 miles of power lines to prevent wildfires. California has some of the highest energy costs in the country and electricity rates here have nearly doubled over the past decade, with almost one-third of California households struggling to pay energy bills. Climate change is inflating electricity costs by driving demand for cooling during extreme heat events and prompting utilities to bury power lines in fire-prone areas. 

So it’s worth noting that advocates just filed an appeal for a new hearing on a critical state agency decision on small-scale solar and storage.

Increasing access to rooftop solar reduces transmission and distribution costs for California’s electric grid, which lowers utility bills and reduces wildfire risk. It also cuts climate pollution by reducing demand for gas power plants to keep the lights on. But in April 2023, the California Public Utilities Commission instituted rules that have already led to an estimated 80 percent drop in new rooftop solar applications and 17,000 solar jobs lost. Then in November, the Newsom-appointed commission doubled down and voted to slash solar incentives again, this time for apartment buildings, schools, farms, and small businesses. 

California already has the technology to build the grid for the future — to ensure affordable, resilient, and clean electricity for all. Let’s use it!

This blog first appeared in The Climate Center’s bi-weekly newsletter. To keep up with the latest climate news and ways to take action for a climate-safe future, subscribe today!