The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 July 2006

Charge and recharge

This month's electric bill at Surlywood — $116 — was the highest it's ever been, which I attribute to two factors:

  1. It was summer, which means a lot of A/C;
  2. And I was here for almost all of it, which is unusual for me.

Of course, it could be worse. At least I'm not in an area powered by Southern California Edison:

[T]he utility will raise rates Aug. 1 by up to 55 percent.

And the increase is retroactive to January, though Edison, which serves the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, will spread that pain over a year rather than billing a lump sum, spokesman Gil Alexander said Friday.

The rate increase, the third this year, was approved Thursday by the state Public Utilities Commission.

"Retroactive to January"? Must be nice. I ought to ask for a raise retroactive to January. If nothing else, it should pin the laugh meter in the conference room.

I looked at the rate schedule, and it's (presumably) unintentionally hilarious: seven different factors go into the calculation, and there's a bump up at 130 percent of "baseline" usage, another at 200 percent. (Compared to the OG&E rate schedule, which has a summer rate, a winter rate, and a rate for in between, the Edison plan looks like something out of Terry Gilliam's Brazil.)

And it's not so nice, of course, if you're one of the lucky ones who gets to pay it:

Here we are years after the rolling blackouts, and California still hasn't increased electricity production so that there's plenty to go around at reasonable prices. I'm a fourth-generation Californian, but leaving the state looks better all the time. . . .

Meanwhile, on the East Coast:

[W]here I live, the electric company just received approval for a 30% rate hike this year and each of two years after that, which borders on insane not to mention prohibitive. My favorite trick of our G&E company, with charges among the highest in the country, is when they tack on a cute little non-specific charge they call an "access fee". Last summer (anything significant there?), the access fee was three times the bill.

I'm beginning to think that the allegedly roll-over-and-play-dead Oklahoma Corporation Commission isn't quite as feckless as we've come to believe.

Posted at 10:02 AM to Family Joules