According to people who watch the utilities industry closely, the United States is likely on the brink of having our water and electricity rates go up. Immediately, people who get their electricity from PJM Interconnection LLC will see a rise of about $2 or $3 per month, but that’s probably a stepping stone toward larger and larger increases.
Mind the Gap
While that certainly isn’t a huge amount of money, chances are good that the small rise in price will only lead to further costs that will need to be paid for by PJM’s customers. Case in point, a number of California’s utility companies (each of which have their own monopoly on power in their respective regions) are proposing to add a $10 fee to every bill that they send out.
Energy providers make the claim that the $10 monthly charge is needed for them to maintain their basic operations. PG&E spokesman Jonathan Marshall said that the charge is “to help share the cost of basic infrastructure that we all use and depend on – lines, poles, meters and so forth.”
Solar Pays, Too
However, since companies like PG&E, SDG&E and Southern California Edison have zero competition, they can pretty much get away with whatever they want. For example, you could go 100 percent solar power in your home, but since your house would still technically be in the power company’s service area, you would still be charged that $10 fee and there’s nothing you could do about it.
And without these power companies having any real competition (and solar doesn’t count since those customers still have to be connected to and pay their regional electric supplier), they have no reason whatsoever to find ways to lower their costs. It’s not like their base of customers can call another power company to receive service elsewhere.