Suzette Martinez Valladares | Put Some Juice into Cutting Costs

Suzette Martinez Valladares, Right Here, Right Now

Certain politicians in the California Legislature just can’t help themselves. Californians continue to face price hikes due to bad policy from years past, and some politicians continue to make our lives more expensive. 

Let’s take energy, for example. According to reports, California utility bills have shot up as much as 127% over the past decade. In 2022 while in the state Assembly, I stood up to these knuckleheads and voted against a bill proposed by a San Francisco Assembly member that created a new fee for ratepayers; this especially impacted those living in areas like Los Angeles. This price hike bill was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and was just one more of the high-cost “gifts” he’s given to Californians over the past six years. 

In a twist of irony, those same proponents of the rate hikes from 2022 are now trying to repeal the hike. Shocking to no one except these out-of-touch politicians is that the constituents they represent and pay for these new hikes are very unhappy with adding more costs to their family budgets. Voters are ready to revolt. 

The fact is this rate-raising bill should have never passed in the first place. 

While we are on the topic of energy rates, it’s important to pay attention to the California Public Utilities Commission, otherwise known as the CPUC. The CPUC is an unelected body that sets energy policy and authorizes rates for the state of California. They are the energy Politburo of the state and are largely unaccountable and controlled by the big-energy monopolies, not unlike California’s history with certain railroad barons. 

What California needs is to tighten the reins and accountability on all the parties above. Californians cannot keep absorbing cost increase after cost increase thrust upon them by folks trying to sustain a spending habit that yields little results, subpar services, and an energy grid that doesn’t provide affordable energy despite having nearly every advantage. 

Energy is critical to our everyday activity, our way of life, conveniences, and our ability to function as a civil society. We need to get rates back under control and stop enabling schemes like Assembly Bill 205 that are products of political ideologies. 

Some of us still remember the $2,000 energy bills California utility companies were sending to California grandmothers under Gov. Gray Davis. Californians spoke loudly, revolted and replaced the governor. 

But to be honest, now is time for real policy rather than politics. We need to insist on reversals of bad laws like AB 205 from 2022, as a beginning, and then insist on more accountability, encourage and promote greater competition, and ease the path for locals to explore and form municipal utility districts. 

If California is really serious about protecting ratepayers and providing a more equitable and fair playing field, a wide variety of options need to be on the table and ratepayers need to be part of these discussions. 

The first and last discussion of any legislative session in Sacramento (and Washington, D.C., for that matter) needs to be about how we are going to lower costs in the near term, on some of the biggest chunks out of family budgets. 

Front and center on that list is bring energy rates in California down for everyone. That’s the discussion we must have.

Suzette Martinez Valladares is Santa Clarita’s former assemblywoman, wife, girl mom, avid DIY’er and a monthly contributor to The Signal’s “Right, Here Right Now,” which appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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