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California Agriculture Utilities

CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE ELECTRIC UTILITIES INFRASTRUCTURE RECEIVED D- GRADE FROM AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS

The 2019 Report Card for California Infrastructure came out earlier this week. Energy received the lowest rank of all sectors scoring a D- from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Investor Owned Utilities (IOU’s), like Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric are tasked with updating their severely under-maintained infrastructure.

Many upgrade projects are currently in effect. “The public utilities are modernizing their grids to accommodate the changing energy market. For example, from 2018-2020, SCE is replacing over 2,000 miles of cable, upgrading lower voltage wires so they can better accommodate…” explains the ASCE.

Highlights: This page covers…

  • Agriculture electric utilities in California are outdated.
  • Electricity rates are going up.
  • Who does this effect?
  • See how this effects farms.
  • What are your options?
  • Conclusion
  • Contact to learn more.

What does this mean for California Growers and Packagers?

Continued rate hikes will be the normal going forward. To pay for these major upgrade projects, IOU’s will need to increase rates, manipulate Time of Use and raise demand charges. California farmers can expect to see growth of their electric bill to outpace inflation significantly.

How do agriculture businesses protect themselves against these rising costs?

California growers and packagers who spend $1,500 or more each month on electricity will need to look at alternative energies like commercial grade solar and energy storage systems. “Our customers approach us to help lower their energy consumption from public utilities,” explains Ken Fournier of Revel Energy. “As rates go up, cutting energy usage and investing in renewable energies look more and more necessary for CA farms.”

Gaining energy independence through on-farm commercial grade solar and other renewable energies is a fast-growing concept. California farmers are the fastest growing adopters in the US, due to its solar saturated climate.

What kind of savings can farmers expect?

A lot of factors play into saving. Available square footage for the technology is a major pacing item. Other factors include, climate, county codes, and time of operation. Many businesses can see anywhere from 30% energy cost savings to well past 100% (in this case they would receive credits for future use). Here is one example of a San Diego mushroom grower who saves over 60% a month of electricity costs.

The average payback time via saved electricity costs is around 3-5 years. Many factors can expedite or slow repayment period, consult an energy consultant today for your business.

What upfront costs can farmers expect?

This depends heavily on the size of the system and how many layers of sustainable technology the business owner wants to use. For example, one grower was running night time irrigation and was unable to capitalize with just solar. They installed an energy storage system to feed their electricity need when the sun went down.

Effective, on-farm commercial grade technology is not cheap like some consumer brands available. Incentives and Federal Tax credits can cut the cost of a comprehensive system significantly, sometime more than half. For businesses that don’t want to invest upfront, flexible financing options and lending programs like PACE are a good option.

What kind of businesses are good candidates to counter these rising costs?

California farms and businesses that spend $1,500 or more each month in electricity are urged to contact an energy saving professional (Contact Here). Commercial energy contractors like Revel Energy will conduct a simple energy audit to point out opportunities for your business to save substantially on energy costs and start to put money back in your pocket.

Conclusion

California’s aged infrastructure is not a secret. The recent infrastructure report card sheds even more light on this issue. Rolling blackouts and utility caused forest fires are just some of the unignorable signs. IOU’s cannot continue to ignore this. If Energy gets its much-needed attention, California business owners can expect significantly higher electricity costs.

 

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