Rising Utility Costs Fuel Frustration Among Citizens In Dem-Run States Advancing Climate Initiatives

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Democrat-controlled states’ lawmakers are under fire from citizens as utility prices soar because of climate policy, according to multiple reports.

California Democrats, in particular, have implemented ambitious climate objectives such as phasing out gas-powered vehicles, combating wildfires and pouring billions into renewable energy sources, which have subsequently driven up costs, according to Politico. Over the past decade, some utility bills in California have risen as much as 127%, prompting citizens to push back and demand action from state lawmakers to lower costs. (RELATED: House Passes Bill To Protect Gas-Powered Cars Amid California’s Electric Vehicle Push)

“Californians are fed up,” Democratic state Assemblymember Marc Berman asserted at a recent Sacramento news conference, according to Politico. “My constituents are pissed off. I know because they told me over and over again at every community coffee that I had in the fall and in the winter. Their rates keep going up.”

Democratic lawmakers in states pushing climate policies are working to shift away from fossil fuels while minimizing cost increases to sidestep backlash from citizens grappling with their utility bills, Politico reported. The potential electoral impact looms large, with Republicans alleging that Democrats are neglecting the financial strain on citizens.

“Absolutely high rates can threaten the energy transition, and we should be very concerned,” Matt Baker, director of the California Public Utilities Commission’s Public Advocates Office, told Politico. “The energy transition depends on public support, and we have to do whatever we can to maintain that public support. That means doing it in the least-cost manner.”

There have not been price hikes of this magnitude since the 1970’s, Baker told Politico.

Another state led by Democrats, New York, allocated $200 million in its 2023 budget to help households with incomes below $75,000 pay their utility expenses, according to Politico. Certain Democratic state lawmakers are striving to make it a law for lower income households to pay no more than 6% of their income on utilities.

Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, co-sponsored the HEAT Act, which includes this provision, according to Spectrum Local News.

“I’m very concerned about the cost and the impact on our ratepayers, our constituents,” Democratic state Assemblymember Didi Barrett, who chairs the chamber’s Energy Committee, told Politico in August. “People right now are already complaining about where their utility costs are, so it has to be part of the conversation.”

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the biggest utility in California, has rolled out a monthly rate hike averaging roughly $34 each month, a 127% rise over the past decade, according to Politico. One-fifth of the utility’s customer base is currently lagging behind on their bills, Baker’s office found in an analysis.

PG&E in December requested California regulators allow the firm to raise rates by an average of up to another $20 each month because of climate change, according to Fox KTVU. If approved, the rate hike will provide PG&E with the billions of extra dollars necessary to fortify its infrastructure to endure climate change and its impacts, according to its filing with the California Public Utilities Commission.

California Public Utilities Commission’s Public Advocates Office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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