Utility Bills and the Environment—Cost and Benefits

by: Dr. Lynn Reaser

San Diegans are probably unhappy every time they receive their utility bills. Although we typically use less electricity to cool and heat our homes because of the mild climate, rates are high. This is a statewide problem.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity rates averaged 14.54 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in December, 2014, a 44% premium over the national average. This was even greater than the 33% premium paid just a year earlier. This is another factor boosting the cost of living and the expense of doing business in the state.Blog photo utility bill

Much of the differential reflects the public’s endorsement of efforts to focus on alternative sources of energy. Specifically, utilities must generate one-third of their electricity from solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass sources by 2020. This clearly puts us at a disadvantage when the price of natural gas, along with oil, has plummeted.

This may be critical to achieving a reduction in our emissions of greenhouse gases, but it does come at a cost.


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