marijuana grower california electricity costs

Not that we're very surprised, but this month's electricity rate hike is so substantial and well-targeted that we just had to tell everyone about it.

Growers looking closely at their power bills this month might notice a marked increase in the rates for top tier power usage. PG&E likes to divvy up your electricity charges into different "Baseline Quantities", charging more per Kwh when you use more power than they think you need.

This is fine for those of us who turn our lights off when we leave the room, shut our computers down at night, and keep our thermostats set low. But for the many thousands of households where residents are running multiple high wattage horticulture lamps, dehumidifiers, and industrial exhaust fans, those baseline charges could be a big deal.

This month PG&E increased rates for the "Over 300% of Baseline" tier by nearly 15%, and the next tier down by over 13%. The bottom two tiers, aka the non-grower tiers, actually went down in price by a couple hundredths of a penny.

Last month's power rates

This month's new prices

This is kind of a big deal, but only for growers. For the rest of us it's actually a little satisfying to know that pot growers who are using 100 times the amount of electricity as a normal household (no joke) now have to pay an additional 15% premium for their excessive consumption. But is it right for PG&E to purposefully implement what is essentially a grower tax? We would much rather see a real tax where the money comes back to the community somehow, but for now it's nice to know that at least someone out there is skimming a little off the top of the most profitable (and questionable) industry in California.

Should pot dealers and smokers expect prices of indoor marijuana to increase this year because of the beefed up electricity charges? Definitely not, because the profit margins on marijuana are still so astronomically high that an additional 5 cents per Kwh is quite literally a drop in the bucket for these guys. Consider that a 4-light indoor pot garden will generally yield 4 pounds of bud every 60 days. Running that garden will cost about $1000 in electricity each month, plus maybe $1500 in rent per month, and maybe $350 in supplies and upkeep. Oh let's throw in $40 for water, too. So it's about $2890 per month to operate that grow house. But quality indoor marijuana sells for at least $3600/pound these days, and this house is producing 4 pounds every 2 months. That leaves the grower with a profit of $8620 every two months, or $4310 a month.

And that is a really small grow scenario. Most growers would laugh at 4 lights because they're probably doing twice that, and you don't even want to start speculating about how many growers here in Humboldt County have multiple grow houses, each with 8 or more lights.

Speaking of marijuana prices this year, word on the street is that the big outdoor harvests from Southern Humboldt and Mendocino County are far, far bigger than ever before. Last year it rained early and caused lots of losses, but this year the rains have been light and the weather has been warm and sunny, allowing many growers to leave their crops in the ground much longer than normal. We have been hearing reports of double-sized yields over last year, and quality is unbelievable. As a result, prices are looking to be a bit lower this winter, which might put a strain on some indoor growers looking to unload their goods. But uh, we're definitely not offering any sympathy, seeing as how margins in the pot business are so ridiculously high it actually makes us sick.

<< Happy Halloween HowStuffWorks Explains Marijuana Grow Houses >>

By Jonathan, on Oct 22, 2008 - 14:06
TAX FREE, I would add.

By Nate, on Oct 22, 2008 - 15:23
Yeah I want to say that while marijuana is not bad and should not be a criminal offense, it's really not right to have these "outlaws" growing all they want and making tons of cash without being a part of what we know as society. The community really needs that lost tax revenue. Maybe this loss of taxes is a part of some of the bigger problems here in Humboldt?

By Joe Cornish, on Oct 23, 2008 - 10:02
I feel as if I'm finally broken through the barrier and am now a full-fledged citizen of Humboldt. Until a few days ago, I lived next to a grow house! Thanks to the wise words of Humboldt County News, I was able to spot it (well, as it was leaving) easily.

Thank you so much for setting me, well, straight.

By Contacting Humboldt County News, on Oct 27, 2008 - 17:39
Is there a way to send a confidential, not-for-publication email to Humboldt County News?


By The Authors, on Oct 28, 2008 - 8:59
We can be contacted at

If you specifically request confidentiality, we will respect that. You wouldn't be the first.

Everyone is welcome to send questions, comments, hate mail, etc, to our email:

the facts

By abbie, on Oct 28, 2008 - 12:11
get your facts straight, an average indoor production only turns around a harvest ever 4 months, it takes time to grow the plants before flowering them, unless a seperate dedicated room is used, which most growers dont have room for. every 60 days pounds are produced? thats B.S. 60 days is strictly the average flowering time, you need to account time for veging, flowering, hanging, drying, processing, and trimming. Your estimated profit margin is wack

Dear Abbie

By pro, on Oct 28, 2008 - 14:52
Wow, sucks to be you! You really should get your grow optimized, if you're not harvesting every 60 days yer a total chuuuuuuump!

Your estimates are off

By Guerrilla in the Midst, on Oct 28, 2008 - 15:27
100 times the electricity?

$1000 per month?

The only time I read something like this is when someone is trying to disparage pot growers. I never read newbie calculations of how much it costs to grow orchids, venus fly traps, cacti, etc. Nor tomatoes, basil, lettuce... you name your cash crop. If it isn't about pot, the ignorant don't act like authorities about the reality of indoor horticulture, they ask questions.

It is true that the profit margin is very high compared to other crops. I would estimate the profit margin to be around seven times what one would make growing a legal crop even given the quality issues associated with pot. The big difference between those who undertake intensive cultivation of pot as opposed to any other plant is the frequency of stupid methods being used when growing pot.

The destructive people who do stupid things are likely also terrible at growing plants. The grow houses that catch on fire aren't yielding anywhere near optimal as a smart person wouldn't be starting a fire in the first place.

An experienced grower profits far more than your estimates. A bad grower profits far, far less. Unfortunately for landlords and the environment, stupid people are the majority.

By 215educated, on Oct 28, 2008 - 23:07
I disagree with the above comment. While it's true that really pro growers will get better yields than this, and amatuers and idiots will get lower yields and fewer harvests, this article does a good job of giving accurate estimates. If someone is growing as their primary source of income, they are probably doing it well and getting 6 crops per year. It's not that hard.

By Viva la Maria, on Nov 3, 2008 - 13:59
now c'mon, this is just splittin hairs. and it cant be as bad as PGE being subpoenaed last summer during the raids. this type of shit is always happening, not much use in getting too worked up about it. I am pretty damn sick of hearin about the same instances of the several houses burning down in the last few years every time so dickhead wants to flame the community. If ya no like whatta gwan, y betta off fi make yuh self gone from humboldt. be ghost

By dongs, on Nov 3, 2008 - 19:06
that was awesome

humboldt sucks

By b, on Dec 2, 2008 - 22:48
The only thing that is commercially viable in this area is medical mj. It's legal so shut up or change the laws... If your not growing in this town you are going to be a redneck, tweeker, or a perticipant in a straight up christian cult.

the bums suck... that can be changed... this town would plunder and homes would be worth half of what they are now... respect your neighboors and leave them alone!!!

humboldt sucks

By freakin mormon hicks, on Dec 2, 2008 - 22:49
The only thing that is commercially viable in this area is medical mj. It's legal so shut up or change the laws... If your not growing in this town you are going to be a redneck, tweeker, or a perticipant in a straight up christian cult.

the bums suck... that can be changed... this town would plunder and homes would be worth half of what they are now... respect your neighboors and leave them alone!!!


By taxes, on Mar 4, 2009 - 18:41
lost tax revenue my ass.
most people pay taxes on what they spend just like the rest of the world. You think a rich dope grower can buy a new hummer without a freaking tax form. Duh just the same as the rest of the world they pay taxes and they spend their money which inures more taxes, 7.25% to be exact.
By the way blogger you forgot alot of the costs inferred like clones for a four lighter cost anywhere from 1000 to 2000 dollars depending on how many you plant. manacurist for four pounds is 800 to 900. and if your landlord is hip to your grow you can expect more than 1500 in rent. Basically a four lighter is like a low paying caltrans job. more like 2000 a month.

Time to go green, and invest in solar!

By JasonD, on Mar 5, 2009 - 21:02
Time to get the rewards of solar power, in addition of using the sun for actual growing.

What is cheaper than a $8,000.00 monthly electric bill?

Installing solar panels to offset the electrical use, at that rate, and installing a couple diffused sun-windows in the roof.

Soon, it will all be legal and regulated. We will no longer be able to produce it cheaper than they can, and it won't be worth the risk of being robbed, or having a valuable house burned down.

Rent a lot, and build inside recycled freight-containers. Wake-up, homes are not acceptable for growing anymore. Get something big, metal, fireproof, cheap, easy to transport, easy to resell, and easy to secure.

Go green... Literally!

By billy, on May 2, 2009 - 7:42
get a job

By big Z, on May 18, 2009 - 17:02
baseline quantity is determined by the CPUC, so complain to the state of California if you're not happy. And all rate increases are approved by the state too. You're barking up the wrong tree.

By coolrayfruge, on Nov 30, 2009 - 10:33
Its the law ,NOT the plant that destroys peoples lives.
Will these assholes ever stop stepping on peoples freedoms and rights.
Or are they hell bent on making this a Nazi socialist society.

What about the others with their hands in the cookie jar?

By humboldthappiness, on Dec 20, 2009 - 12:25
Why is it that all the growers take all the heat for so called illegal behavior? If the growers seem to be ruinning the communities so much then why doesn't anybody talk about the property owners of the clubs that are very much a part of this so called profitable bussiness. In actuallity more money goes into the pockets of PGE, grow shops, and property owners of multiple pot clubs and grow shops like DanCo. But when there is all this talk about who's the bad guy fingers are immediately pointed at the growers and not at the other bussinesses who are profiting much more than the actual grower. So if you are going to give growers shit, give the others shit. Or just leave the responsible growers alone because the put much more work into their profits than the companies that are recieving large sums of cash from the growers because the companies know how much money is in the business. In acuallity you would really have to be doing an illegal grow to profit the amount this article stated. Many growers are respecting the law and only produce what the law states. How come we never talk about these folks?

By Growing, on May 29, 2010 - 5:13
It makes you happy to see people making a living pay more than other people? Why? Does your electricity bill go down? no. Does your bank account go up? No. Do you get better looking or smart3er? No. So why would you feel good that others are getting shafted? It's because you have a problem with others making a living that you feel is better than yours, or ethically wrong, or you get some sick pleasure out of others pain. Who care what others are doing as long as they aren't hurting you? Misplaced hate here.

BTW-- 70% of all money in the Humboldt community is from the growth of pot. And pot growers do pay taxes. They can't buy a house unless they show income. If they show 100, 000 gross, then they pay Federal and State taxes on that money. Why don't you stop hating people and just live your own life? Ask yourself why you are really happy that other people pay more for electricity than you do, and be honest about it. It's just jealousy is all.

grow it outside!

By mork, on Dec 12, 2010 - 18:24
this is the best region in the us for growing real, sun-fed,medicical grade, outdoor pot. the indoor shit is chemical laced and obviously consumes too much electricity. who cares if these assholes can afford to pay their bills and taxes if the electricity they hog is produced by coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear energy? it's completely unsustainable. if this area gets 100% of their electric from wind/solar, then fine, let em be. but if they're burning shit and polluting the environment to feed these plants artificial, inferior light... fuck that!

Haters all of you!!!

By illegalGrower, on Jan 5, 2011 - 0:22
You are all clueless and your area no longer produces the best, go a litlte south we'll show you how tro really do it right...and fuck you all who dont pay my bills, so go fuck yourself!! And omg you freakin tree huggin granola munching pachouli oil wearing hippies please shut up the damage is done, and you fools were to stupid to realize it till now!!!! !!!!!!

By Dave, on Jan 14, 2011 - 0:56
Equal the playing field, think bigger, make it fair for all...Eliminate the IRS, implement a national 24% sales tax and presto! You are no longer taxed on what you earn (or save), but what you spend, everyone pays the same, and the obnoxious, tyrannical, un-constitutional IRS is no longer crawling up peoples asses with Microscopes!

You have a choice other than PG&E

By Susan H, on Feb 8, 2013 - 5:41
YOU HAVE A CHOICE TO PAY LESS THAN PG&E! If you don’t like PG&E or want to pay less for your Natural Gas for your home or business, you can sign up with Ambit Energy. We entered California in September 2012 with deregulation so now you have a choice of who you buy your gas from. Nothing changes for you except a line on your bill and that you will save at least 8% or more per month. We offer a variable rate or a locked in contract rate. In addition, you get a 2 night hotel stay as a thank you gift, earn monthly travel points, and can earn free gas each month. Visit my customer website: or e-mail me at or visit my personal website at or my personal consultant website at Lots of choices, visit one or them all! Hope to hear from you, Susan

Hiking up the Rates hurts the entire community!

By Expectant Mother and College Graduate whom can't find a good paying job!, on Sep 30, 2014 - 5:51
I pay taxes, trimmers, I purchase local food and buy grow products that support the community and its members. Increasing my power bill reduces my income and the amount of money I can spend at local stores! SO FUCK ALL OF YOU HATERS WHO DON'T WANT ME TO PROSPER! Good luck at your $8.00/hr jobs you uneducated hicks! The prices of ganja have already dropped to where I can hardly pay my bills and have any money left over at the end of season. This increase hurts the entire community and everyone will see once the stores begin to close and the charitable contributions this community has grown to depend on will dry up.....then where will organizations like CASA be?

You guys are blind!

By Hating the hate!, on Sep 6, 2015 - 14:03
You guys are so blind to how much the growers are actually contributing. If it weren't for the growers, property prices would plummet to those comparable to the southeast and the economy would dry up. And the estimates are way off. $1000 bucks a month for a 4-lighter is insane. Everybody hating the growers are simply jealous. They're too lazy to get their asses off the couch and put the meth pipe down. If you can't beat them, join em. What a fucking travesty. And the folks talking about solar power. How long would it take take the average person to be able to be able to buy a solar setup to power their 4-lighter grow exclusively. A long ass time!

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