The production, transmission and cost of energy continue to be an issue for California’s residents, business community and economy. In order for the state to remain competitive, opinion leaders should adopt policies to minimize costs while upgrading and expanding the energy system to electricity customers while meeting the state’s environmental goals. Reliability and affordability need to be at the forefront of California’s energy policies. Multiple, and sometimes competing, regulations placed on the energy sector affect the price and availability of energy.

Electricity prices have increased over the last decade and are anticipated to increase an additional 26%–42% by 2020. The 2000–01 energy crisis and numerous energy mandates have made the per kilowatt hour cost of energy in California higher than the national average and significantly higher than neighboring states.


Related Issue Pages:
Climate Change
Environmental Regulation


Recommend policies on issues concerning utilities and commerce, including electricity, telecommunications, commercial transactions, corporate governance, economic stimulus and development.

Major Victories

Prevented increased fuel costs from an arbitrary petroleum use cutback proposed in 2015 (SB 350).

Stopped legislation in 2015 that limited in-state energy development (AB 356 and AB 1490).

Kept lid on fuel costs in 2014 by stopping plan to levy an oil severance tax (SB 1017) and to place a carbon tax on gasoline at the pump (SB 1156).

Stopped proposals in 2013 leading to fuel and gas price increases due to moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing (AB 1301, AB 1323) or an oil and gas severance tax discouraging production in the state (SB 241).

Stopped proposals in 2012 leading to fuel price increases, including two that increased energy costs by allocating funds from an illegal tax to various programs that are not needed to cost-effectively implement the market-based trading mechanism under AB 32, the state’s landmark climate change law.

Supported legislation in 2012 streamlining projects converting from solar thermal to photovoltaic technology (AB 1073).

Preventing electricity cost increases by stopping in 2011 an eight-year extension of a tax (public goods charge) on electricity ratepayers in the territories of the investor-owned utilities (AB 724, SBX 1 28).

Aggressive campaigning and advocacy by CalChamber-led coalitions dampened enthusiasm for tax increases and new taxes, including an energy tax that raises the price of gasoline and California-produced crude oil.


As California pursues its clean energy goals, the driving force for the state’s energy policies needs to be maintaining a reliable, efficient and affordable energy system. Although the economic downturn has reduced energy demand in the short-term, demand is expected to grow as the economy recovers. It is important that when making energy decisions, policymakers and stakeholders be flexible enough to respond to future fluctuations in the economy in a way that enables the state to continue to develop and adopt energy policies and technologies that are critical for long-term reliability and economic growth.

With the various new programs undergoing implementation, California will be required to have a far more diversified portfolio of energy sources. In order for the state to meet these requirements for energy efficiency, renewable standards and greenhouse gas reductions, projects must be streamlined through the approval process, which means that effective inter-agency collaboration and communication is necessary.

It is critical that California’s electricity generation keeps pace with its growing population and increasing demand. The state should focus its attention on flexible resources to sustain future economic growth and to ensure renewables are able to come on line in time to keep up with the various programs being implemented across agencies.

Maintaining and expanding the state’s energy infrastructure is vital to the economic growth of California. Moreover, investments must be made in natural gas pipelines to move gas more efficiently to where it is needed. Continued research and development is needed in technologies like smart grid that help advance energy efficiency goals, reduce costs and increase grid reliability. With the implementation of the renewable portfolio standard, research and development in energy storage will be necessary to keep up with daily energy demands.

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Amy-Mmagu-2011-300x300Amy Mmagu
Policy Advocate
Climate Change, Energy,
Environmental Regulation, Transportation