California’s Post COVID-19 Financial Catastrophe

Posted on Mon 05/04/2020 by

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By Ronald Stein ~

Californians will continue to pay some of the highest costs for electricity and fuel use as the State unexpectedly collides catastrophically with the global pandemic that will impact businesses and employment for an unpredictable economic future.

The State’s much-touted $21 billion operating-budget surplus is likely to disappear entirely due to declining tax revenues and rising public welfare costs.

Sacramento has not yet disappeared by seawater submergence but its urban-centered politicians—who were elected by misinformed Californians—continue to skirt logical solutions addressing the causes of the state’s ultra-extreme consumer energy costs. Such extra-ordinary energy costs can only lead to the state’s stagnation and retard its post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

As America recovers from the COVID-19 shelter-in-place medical treatment of choice on the nation’s economy, California cannot rid itself from the continuing and state-prescribed high costs of energy that other states are not shackled by, and those elected California officials will not do anything to effectively and forever resolve the causes of the energy high costs that severely limit the state’s economic base and its potential for improvement.

Today the intermittent electricity from low-power density renewables is expensive, far more than oil and natural gas, and have been contributory prices for electricity in California being 50% higher than the nation’s average for residents, and double for commercial consumers. Costs to homeowners and industry are projected to go even higher with the continuation of Governor Newsom’s carbon dioxide gas emissions-centric puppeteering radical Green Crusade.

Adding to the onerous problem of affordable electricity, California is closing nuclear reactors that have been safely generating uninterrupted carbon dioxide-free electricity for decades. In 2013, California shutdown Southern California Edison’s San Onofre plant, which generated 2,200 MW. It has ordered the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon 2,160 MG generators by 2024, but only if Sacramento still exists in its present format as a voter approved official legislative entity! Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, known to desire the governorship of California, recently announced forthcoming closures of three natural gas-powered plants at Scattergood, Haynes, and Harbor: “…this is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles.” His demand to replace technologies are economically iffy and presently infeasible; indeed, they are high-cost substitutes.

Since California is currently unable to generate sufficient electricity in-state to meet demand, the state is forced by its own policies to import more electricity than any other state. Thus, an outcome that is not in the financial interest of any California resident. Without any known state-fostered plans to rebuild with more in-state power generation, California continues to shut down its safely functioning nuclear and natural gas electricity generation plants!

California’s electricity costs are already among the highest in the country and will continue to increase as imports from other states increase and become more expensive—Newsom’s intentional imposition, his “Save Everyone Hostage Effect”—as well as necessary to fill the impending absence of all those shuttered power-plants, whatever their fuel source.

Psychically skewed, enviously radical green abnormal California politicians profess leadership of everyone, spouting laudatory pride as the only state in contiguous America that imports most of its crude oil energy from foreign countries.

Misguided Sacramento leaders have caused California to increase imports from foreign countries from 5 percent to 57 percent of total consumption. The imported crude oil costs California more than $60 million dollars a day being paid to oil-rich foreign countries, depriving Californians of jobs and business opportunities.

Apparently, Governor Gavin Newsom wants to markedly reduce in-State oil production even more and is seeking to permanently ban oil-shale fracking technology’s use. Such a California governmental action, by law or regulation with the effect of law, would INCREASE costly foreign crude oil imports to California to fill the gap of ever-declining California and Alaska production, further crippling the State, forcing the continuation of California as a remarkable national security risk for the USA.

Once the world’s 5th largest economy, tax-paying Californians now must cope with uncertain future bureaucracy-distributed State and local monetary expenditures along with the state’s unfunded pension debt liabilities of one trillion dollars, or almost five times the State’s 220 billion-dollar 2020-21 budget! Newsom’s moral dilemma: “Save Everyone” yet continue the state’s lavish and hyperbolic operations which nowadays must be based on a sudden COVID-19 fundamentally weakened state economy and national economy. Certainly, California seaports, both coastal and inland, will need to endure the effects of an international trade throughput decrease, especially with China.

California politicians refuse to correctly address our post-pandemic on energy policies. It is not intended for the 5% of taxpayers who contribute 70% of monies to the State’s General Fund, but for the 95% of uninformed and poorly informed voters who pay. They pay every day for the foolish actions and evil inactions, of the unrealistic California politicians who were empowered by election outcomes.

Ron Stein contributes Posts at the CFACT site. He is an engineer who, drawing upon 25 years of project management and business development experience, launched Principal Technical Services (PTS) in 1995. He writes frequently on issues of energy and economics.

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