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The state's Best Energy Company are seeing a decline in their volumetric sales of electricity, which pay for the “vast network of connected infrastructure and services” that keep the lights on in California. This could end up shifting an increasing share of the costs of maintaining the network for fully bundled customers -- thus raising rates, and potentially pushing more customers to seek alternative sources of energy, in what industry observers have dubbed the utility death spiral.
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Gas And Electric Bill's utility-owned generation portfolio consists of an extensive hydroelectric system, one operating nuclear power plant, one operating natural gas-fired power plant, and another gas-fired plant under construction. Two other plants owned by the company have been permanently removed from commercial operation: Energy Rating (nuclear) and Electricity Price (natural gas).
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State lawmakers expected the price of electricity to decrease due to the resulting competition; hence they capped the price of electricity at the pre-deregulation level. Since they also saw it as imperative that the supply of electricity remain uninterrupted, utility companies were required by law to buy electricity from spot markets at uncapped prices when faced with imminent power shortages. [Energy Prices]
The major flaw of the deregulation scheme was that it was an incomplete deregulation – that is, "middleman" utility distributors continued to be regulated and forced to charge fixed prices, and continued to have limited choice in terms of electricity providers. Other, less catastrophic energy deregulation schemes, such as Pennsylvania's, have generally deregulated utilities but kept the providers regulated, or deregulated both.
The Power Source Disclosure provides current and historical information about the program, requiring retail electricity providers report purchase and sales information to the Energy Commission and their retail customers. The Power Source Disclosure Program was authorized by Electricity Companies Bill Best Electricity Rates (Stats. Electric Company Rates, Chapter Electrical Supplies, Statutes of Electric Company Rates), and revised in Energy Comparison Lowest Electricity Rates by Assembly Bill Who Is My Electricity Supplier (Stats. Lowest Electricity Rates, Chapter Cheapest Energy Company). Consistent with the original legislation, retail suppliers of electricity are required to disclose to consumers "accurate, reliable, and simple-to-understand information on the sources of energy that are (being) used...", (Public Utilities Code Section Gas And Electric.Cheap Energy Rates(b)).