Recently, the state of California has faced a number of significant power outages under the watch of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Our fearless leader, Governor Gavin Newsom, has decided that the solution to this problem is to appoint an energy czar, which is an informal nickname for the position within the executive branch given authority over energy policy.
Governor Newsom chose his Cabinet Secretary Ana Matosantos for this new position. Her tasks are perfectly straightforward and simple. All she has to do is direct the state’s ability to fight wildfires, protecting vulnerable Californians, and making sure that California has “safe, affordable, reliable, and clean power.”
This is all in addition to the duties of her actual job. These problems do have solutions, but Matosantos’ Democratic principles and the inherent inefficiency of big government might prevent her from finding those solutions on her own.
For example, interfering with PG&E is not going to solve the wildfire problem. The electric systems of California cause less than 10 percent of the state’s wildfires. What would really help the wildfire issue is allowing for the clearing of the dead brush and other wildfire fuel that is currently being protected by environmental regulations and activists. Wildfires will always be a problem in California regardless of any new regulations placed on energy companies.
Protecting vulnerable Californians is an incredibly vague goal in this instance. These are exactly the kind of empty promises the Democrats offer instead of meaningful policy change.
In terms of the final goal to provide “safe, affordable, reliable, and clean power” to Californians, the solution is obvious and incredibly effective. By deregulating the state’s energy market it will allow competition to emerge, lowering prices and increasing quality of service. The problem with the existing state-subsidized monopoly is that PG&E is not as motivated to provide quality service to their customers because those customers have nowhere else to go if they are dissatisfied with their energy provider.
In addition, nuclear power is cheaper, cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable than any other source of green energy. By returning to nuclear power in California, Matosantos can easily achieve her goals.
These policy suggestions are common sense but political divides will prevent Democrats in Sacramento from seeing the merit in these ideas. Matosantos has her work cut out for her. Best of luck to our new energy czar.