SF's Cool Summers Good for Central Valley Homeowners

City's natural air conditioning bad for local energy rates

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010  |  Updated 1:24 PM PDT
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SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 10: Waves crash against rocks at Fort Point near the Golden Gate Bridge October 10, 2008 in San Francisco, California.

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San Francisco's notoriously-cool summers could be a ticket for higher energy rates.

Electricity bills for some California residents could fall under a new Pacific Gas and Electric Co. proposal sent to energy regulators on Monday.

The utility wants to cut prices for homeowners who use the most electricity and with sweltering summer temperatures in the  Bakersfield Central Valley, residents there crank up the air conditioning, making them some of the state's biggest energy consumers.

The price per kilowatt hour for customers in the company's highest-usage tier would fall next year from 50 cents per kilowatt hour to just under 30 cents per kilowatt hour if the plan is approved. Many homeowners in the Central Valley fall into that top tier.

Residents in the Stockton/Lodi Central Valley area have long been blaming the Bay Area for smog wafting their way. Now, they could be getting their payback via PG&E also, as their summers temperatures soar well into the 90s and easily hover near 100-degree mark.

PG&E says top-tier customers in the Bakersfield area would see their monthly bills drop by more than $60 from about $414 to around $348 under the plan.

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