Los Angeles Utility Price Hikes Make Home Batteries Even More Crucial.

by Andrew Meyer
November 12, 2015

Keep an eye on your utility bills, Los Angeles: a hike in water and power rates is coming your way.

A new proposal from the Department of Water and Power would mean a $20 average increase over the next five years. Why the price hike? Utilities are starting to get serious about renewable energy.

As far as power is concerned, the rise in grid-connected power rates will raise revenue to help meet new state mandates on renewable energy. California’s governor, Jerry Brown, signed a bill that requires state-regulated utilities (like the Los Angeles DWP) to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. 50 percent. That’s huge. That means wind, solar, and water power need to get a huge boost in funding.

Marcie Edwards, the manager of the DWP, thinks that funding should come straight from the consumer.

California already leads the country in solar electricity, with solar capacity great enough to power nearly 3 million homes. With new state mandates, California is laying the groundwork for a serious solar revolution, rivaled only by Hawaii, who recently set a goal to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

But California lawmakers don’t just care about where their energy comes from -- they’re also all about energy storage.

A few years ago, California adopted the United States’ first ever energy storage mandate, requiring the three biggest power companies to get serious about electricity storage. We’re talking 1,325 megawatts by the end of 2020.

But this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Renewable energy like wind and solar can only reach its full potential if energy storage is available.

It’s not enough to generate energy from the sun -- you have to be able to use it when it’s no longer shining. Renewable energy and energy storage require a big investment, and California is asking all of its residents to join them in putting up the money.

Well, not all of them.

Residential solar projects in California are skyrocketing, with the number of completed home solar projects approaching 150 thousand, with many more on the way. Households who choose to join California in embracing solar energy won’t fork up as much money in bills as homes who consume more electricity straight from the grid. Other homes with solar and energy storage are getting off the grid entirely.

Their utility bills? They don’t exist.

Some homes with solar panel installations and energy storage are able to produce and store enough electricity to power their homes completely off-grid, giving them freedom from the current price-hike proposals, as well as the inevitable growing cost of electricity in the future. The off-grid trend is growing fast, and with electricity rates on the rise, off-grid demand won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

So that’s the situation, Los Angeles.

Continue to watch utility rates rise, or break free of the grid entirely.

Check out the possibility of setting up your own solar installations and home batteries. If you’re ready for off-grid energy independence, Swell’s here to help. Either way, we’ll keep you updated on new developments in the world of solar.