So, What is Your Income?
What is that all about you may ask. It all has to do with your utility bill. The state’s utility regulators are considering ways to ease electric bills for low-income households. They are looking for public input. Last year the Democrats in the legislature passed an energy bill. Buried deep into it was language authorizing a new “income-graduated” fee on residential electric bills structured so that “low-income customers pay a smaller fixed charge than high-income customers. Electric companies could reduce their rates per kilowatt hour and impose a progressive fee to make up the difference.
There are a number of ways that this idea could be implemented and ideas are being discussed. One idea that is especially troubling is the need for reliable income data. Self-reporting would be subject to people lying but the alternative would be providing tax records to the electric company. As noted, none of this is the utility’s business and the information would be as secure as the utility’s firewall.
The Public Utilities Commission wants to hear from Californians. Send your comments directly to the PUC bit.ly/ElectricFee by June 2nd.