Energy companies are pushing for more electricity deregulation in California, the likes of which brought rate spikes and rolling blackouts early this century. Energy industry interests have been spending record amounts to stave off future pollution regulation and are now attempting to transform California’s electricity grid into a risky regional power system. This proposal would further deregulate electricity, enrich corporate utility companies, reduce public accountability and raise California’s electricity rates.
How would this change California's grid?
Currently, California's grid is overseen by the Calfironia Independent System Operator (CAISO), which oversees the flow of electricity from power plants to California homes and communities. While CAISO doesn't have a spotless record, it is a relatively transparent organization with locally-appointed board members and opportunities for stakeholder participation over transmission infrastructure, rates and investments.
The proposal for so-called regionalization would replace CAISO with a new regional electrical grid, which would give out of state power systems authority over California's electric system.
Our research demonstrates that regionalization would be a bad decision for California, by decreasing democratic control and favoring fossil fuel industry interests. Here are a few highlights from the fact sheet:
- California has more wind, solar and geothermal energy combined than any of the 10 states in the regionalization proposal. Regionalization would hamper the state's ability to identify the source of imported electricity—which would make it harder to prevent fossil fuel-fired plants from exporting power to California.
- New participating states would have greater influence thus California’s role in the direction and oversight of the regional grid would be diluted and the role of coal-state interests would be elevated.
- A CAISO report found that regionalization would reduce renewable energy jobs in California by increasing resilience on imported electricity.
- CAISO’s board is already stacked with fossil fuel industry cronies, but regionalization would allow an expanded CAISO to escape from California’s oversight, including the growing opposition to the state’s fracked gas dependency that could hold CAISO accountable.
The proposals to expand CAISO and create a regionalized, unaccountable, expensive and climate-destroying electricity grid must be stopped. Contact your state representative TODAY and urge them to OPPOSE the bill (Assembly Bill 813) that would regionalize CAISO: foodandwaterwatch.org/california