• Sen. Boxer Obscures The Truth About CA’s High Energy Bills

    Sen. Barbara Boxer is at it again, claiming California’s green energy policies aren’t impacting how much Californian’s pay for energy. The California Democrat argued that even under cap-and-trade and green energy mandates, Californians still pay less than Oklahomans for electricity.

    “California households pay the ninth-lowest electricity bills in the country — lower than Oklahoma,” Boxer said during a Senate business meeting Wednesday, tying low electricity bills to the state’s cap-and-trade program. “California’s household monthly energy bills are far cheaper than Oklahoma.”

    “California’s overall monthly energy bills are among the cheapest in the country,” Boxer said, claiming her state had high job growth under cap-and-trade. “On some days, 50 percent of our energy comes from the sun.”

    Sounds like a green energy paradise — almost too good to be true. As it turns out, it is too good to be true.

    It’s extremely misleading to claim California’s energy policies are producing lower energy bills for residents when compared to what Oklahomans pay. Not only is it misleading, but the very data Boxer uses to make her claim actually shows just how much more Californians are paying for electricity.

    Oklahomans actually pay way less for electricity than Californians, they just use more of it. Why? It’s mainly because the plains get much hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than California’s generally mild weather. Also, energy is cheap, so Sooners can use more of it.

    According to Energy Information Administration data, Californians consumed 557 kWh per month in 2013, at a price of 16.19 cents per kWh. That comes out to $90.19 per month for electricity.

    Sooners, on the other hand, consumed 1,142 kWh per month that year, at a cost 9.68 cents per kWh — that’s almost half of what Californians pay. But because of Oklahoma’s extreme seasonal weather, state residents end up paying $110.55 per month.

    Sooners may pay more on their total energy bills , but it’s largely due to sweltering summers and frigid winters that don’t happen in California. Golden State energy efficiency programs also keep usage down, but that only adds to the expense. So, it’s dishonest to compare what Oklahomans pay for energy to what Californians pay without taking such factors into account.

    If Sooners paid 16.19 cents per kilowatt hour, their monthly electricity bills would average about $185 per month. So much for cap-and-trade and low-carbon fuel standards. On the flip side, if Californians paid Oklahoma electricity prices, they would save $36.19 per month. Under Sooner prices, they would only pay $54 per month.

    Let’s keep in mind that the Golden State got about 30 percent of its power from green energy sources in 2013, including from biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar. California also got very little power from coal. Oklahoma got about 15 percent of its power from wind in 2013, but the majority came from natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

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