Democrats pushed climate action in Calif. Then utility bills skyrocketed.

By Wes Venteicher | 02/23/2024 06:41 AM EST

Electricity bills are biting lawmakers in coastal, Democratic-leaning districts.

Workers install solar power modules for producing heat on the roof of a house in Wessling, Germany.

Wildfire prevention, grid upgrades and investments in renewable energy are driving up electricity prices. Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

SACRAMENTO, California — California Democrats proudly authored nation-leading clean energy goals that forced the automobile industry to go electric and shaped global climate policy.

Then the bill came due.

There is intensifying political pressure on state lawmakers to do something about utility bills that have shot up by as much as 127 percent over the last decade. Climate spending — from wildfire prevention to building out transmission capacity and paying for renewables — is partly to blame.


“Californians are fed up,” said Democratic state Assemblymember Marc Berman at a recent news conference in Sacramento. “My constituents are pissed off. I know because they told me over and over again at every community coffee that I had in the fall and in the winter. Their rates keep going up.”