Extension of California Energy Levy Would Promote Renewable Energy, Create Jobs
California utility customers may not even know it, but an existing surcharge on their power bills of just $1 to $2 dollars currently collects about $400 million a year to support renewable energy, attract venture capital and create coveted green gobs. The Clean Energy, Jobs and Investment Act would extend this existing levy which is set to expire at the end of the year.
According to Governor Brown’s top legislative aid Nancy McFadden, the surcharge has “created tens of thousands of jobs, spawned entire new industries and attracted billions of dollars of venture capital to California” and would fund research to develop “innovative and emerging clean-energy technologies developed in California.” The initiative enjoys broad support from many environmental and labor sectors; even the Utility Reform Network – a consumer advocacy group which combats abusive utility policies and fees – supports California’s investment in renewable energy. In fact, Sen Alex Padilla (D- Pasadena), chairman of the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, who had previously introduced legislation to repeal the charge, reversed his position and now supports it based on its job-creating potential. However, once the bill is introduced in the state Legislature next week, it must be reauthorized within only two weeks.
California is one of the nation’s leaders in environmental policies, but faces challenges from business and antitax groups, particularly in this time of fiscal challenge. However, maintaining existing sources of revenue for energy investment advances these interests in a way that keeps our economy growing through job creation and ultimately will result in more cost-effective, environmentally sustainable power. Show your support for this initiative by contacting your California state representative.