The editorial starts by discussing a WalletHub study of state-by-state energy costs. The study found that West Virginia was the 25th most expensive state while Ohio was 17th. What appears to upset the editorial writer, however, is that California is one of the least-expensive states coming in at #45:
As encouraging as the WalletHub study is for residents of our area, it should be noted the research does not account for the smoke and mirrors in states such as California, which the study says ranks better than our states, with an average monthly cost of $251.
Ah, so the only possible way that California's energy costs could be cheaper is through "smoke and mirrors." The editorial then cites a study from a scholarly journal to prove its point. (At this point, I was pleasantly surprised that the editorial was actually using evidence!) The editorial explains:
Research published in “Energy Policy” explains California’s shell game. When deregulation and reregulation of its energy markets failed spectacularly, California lawmakers passed a variety of policies that amounted to several layers of subsidies. The abstract for the published research calls California’s subsidies “perverse,” “economically and environmentally unfavorable,” and even a “potential misuse of money.”
It took a few minutes to find but I eventually found the abstract here. (For non-academics, an abstract is a one-paragraph summary of the nature of the research and what it found.) What jumped off the page was that it was copyrighted in 2002 which probably meant that the actual research was done in 2000 or 2001. The Intelligencer was citing evidence that was at least 15 years old! Given how much energy has changed in the last 15 years, that's an eternity or at least half of one.
But it gets worse for the editorial which hints that California's "shell game" was played to help alternate energy sources. The abstract does use "perverse," “economically and environmentally unfavorable,” and “potential misuse of money” but those describe a 2001 California that was driven by fossil fuels:
Many interventions implemented by the state to smooth out the impacts of the energy crisis insulated electricity consumers from market realities, supported the existing structure of California’s electricity market, which is predominantly based on fossil fuels, and suppressed market incentives to improve energy conservation.
Sorry, the evidence is outdated and it makes the opposite side's case. Maybe the editorial writer figured that no one would bother checking.