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The Cost Of Power Post-San Onofre

How much will it cost to power your home now that San Onofre is offline for good? Short answer: possibly more.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station shut down in January of 2012 prompted a rise in wholesale power prices that has persisted through 2013, according to a study released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in March.

Now, as Southern California Edison prepares to shut down the power plant on the San Clemente coast, it's unclear what will happen to individual power prices.

According to the EIA study, the wholesale price per megawatthour — the amount of electricity used to power about 330 homes in a single hour — jumped to more than $50 from about $30. The study notes that "Southern California power prices have persistently exceeded Northern California prices."

It also notes that "Southern California needs to use local generation sources and cannot solely rely on imported electricity to replace generation from SONGS."

Alternatives to SONGS, according to the study, are more expensive and will likely contribute to higher prices in the future.

Check out the entire study here.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | June 8, 2013 at 1:10 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

We need to find ways to reduce peak electricity demand in Southern California, then find new peak power resources. The first goal could be addressed if the CPUC ordered the SoCal utilities to implement new energy efficiency programs that helped customers replace their existing low efficiency air conditioning systems with new ultra high efficiency ones by providing incentives or rebates that cover at least half the cost of system replacement. Then SDG&E need to negotiate a long term power purchase contract with NRG for power generated at NRGs new natural gas powerplant at the Encina site near Carlsbad. Then SDG&E has to decide what its future position is on local rooftop solar. Instead of putting obstacles in the way of new rooftop solar, SDG&E could encourage more installations by leasing customer rooftops and installing its own solar systems, and ratebasing the costs of those rooftop solar units. This would create new peak power supplies right here in San Diego, saving the cost of line losses related to importing energy from remote powerplants. SDG&E can either get into the local solar business or watch while its high use, high income customers buy rooftop solar from other private companies.

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