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Scott Jagow: I try to never complain about the weather to my friends back East. I live in Los Angeles, but we’re gonna have triple-digit temperatures again today and it looks like California’s gonna break the record for power usage. The thing is, my electricity bill doesn’t budge when it’s hot out here. I asked Stacey Vanek-Smith to find out why.
Stacey Vanek-Smith: California is asking residents to conserve energy this week. But there’s not much of a reason to listen, says Jim Bushnell with the University of California energy institute.
Jim Bushnell: When we get to these tight electricity situations, the rates paid by customers don’t change.
Not that energy comes cheap these days.
Bushnell says companies like PG&E that sell electricity to consumers, buy it from wholesale suppliers and wholesale prices have been skyrocketing.
Bushnell: And, yes, that is actually a good thing because prices tell us we’re running out, and when we’re running out, we want to reduce consumption.
But Bushnell says companies like PG&E can’t pass wholesale prices onto consumers because of regulations that cap electricity costs, and that stifles innovation.
He says energy-saving technology would become profitable a lot faster if people could save money by using it.
In Los Angeles, I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.
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