California lawmakers are trying to lower electricity bills. It won’t be easy.

By Wes Venteicher | 03/08/2024 07:00 AM EST

Legislators grasped for simple solutions to skyrocketing electric bills at a hearing in Sacramento.

Democratic Assemblymembers Luz Rivas (left) and Cottie Petrie-Norris (right) talk during the Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif.

California Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (right) who chairs the Utilities and Energy Committee, pressed state officials and energy experts for ways to reduce California utility bills during a hearing on affordability Wednesday. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

SACRAMENTO, California — California lawmakers are looking for simple ways to stem a rising crisis in electricity affordability, and they’re not finding them.

The dilemma was on display at an Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee oversight hearing Wednesday afternoon in which legislators pressed state officials and energy experts for solutions.

“Our constituents want to know what’s going on, and more importantly they want to know what we as their elected representatives are doing to address this issue and to contain costs,” said Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, the Orange County Democrat who took over as committee chair in January.


Legislators are contending with electric bills that have grown as much as 127 percent over the last 10 years and are projected to keep rising. The biggest drivers are spending to prevent utility-sparked wildfires, support for rooftop solar, public-purpose programs and investments in infrastructure to handle increasing electricity demand fueled in part by state climate policies.