Topic: Cost of Living
Feb. 7, 2017
Utilities must buy back the electricity at market rates, but they still have this vast – and growing – infrastructure of power plants and utility lines to finance and maintain. The more the utilities raise their rates to pay for these “stranded costs,” the more consumers opt out and install solar panels. That raises the per-capita costs of maintaining that infrastructure, which raises electricity prices – and leads to more people opting out of the system. Advances in battery storage could further diminish the need for power plants that are financed 30 or 40 years into the future.
San Diego County’s poverty rate of 13.8% vastly undercounts the number of families living in economic insecurity. Fully a third of all households headed by people under age 65 have incomes below the cost of living in the region. Based on the costs of basic family budget items, the Self-Sufficiency Standard indicates the yearly income families need just to get by. The basic budget starts at almost $28,000 a year for a single adult, which would require an hourly wage of at least $13.23 if working full-time all year long. The budget grows with family size and differs according to the ages of children in the family. Self-Sufficiency is the ability to afford the bare-bones costs of living without public or private assistance. The calculation of the standard includes only no-frills items like housing, food, transportation, child care, healthcare, and taxes.
Feb. 5, 2017
California has a big — and growing — glut of power, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times has found. The state’s power plants are on track to be able to produce at least 21% more electricity than it needs by 2020, based on official estimates. And that doesn’t even count the soaring production of electricity by rooftop solar panels that has added to the surplus. . . Californians are paying a higher premium to switch on lights or turn on electric stoves. In recent years, the gap between what Californians pay versus the rest of the country has nearly doubled to about 50%.
Feb. 5, 2017
The 13 percent increase in natural gas rates took effect in August, but consumers didn’t feel the pinch until December, when residents turned up their thermostats in the face of a particularly cold and wet season. Electricity rates were raised three times in the past year. Combined, electricity and gas rates for PG&E customers are an average of 21 percent higher than they were a year ago, said utility spokesman Donald Cutler.
Feb. 2, 2017
High energy costs then translate into high costs of food and supply since suppliers have to buy electricity and gas, Mayes said. Because of the high costs, companies that offer good-paying marketing jobs don’t want to expand into California. This makes it hard for people with limited education to find high enough wages. “We don’t have the jobs that pay for those who didn’t go to Stanford or UCLA or didn’t go to Berkeley or didn’t get a degree in computer science and life science,” he said.
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