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California Power Companies Propose to Bill Electricity Partly by Income

California’s power companies are proposing to bill electricity consumers partly according to their income, rather than just on usage alone.

Los Angeles-area news station KTLA reports:

Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric submitted a joint proposal to the state’s Public Utilities Commission last week that outlines the new rate structure. It follows last year’s passage of Assembly Bill 205 which requires a fixed rate and generally simpler power bills.

Under the proposal, households will see a fixed rate covering basic electricity services and the utility company’s operating costs on a scale based on their household income.

SCE says approximately 1.2 million of its lower-income customers will see their bills drop by 16%-21%. Overall, rates will decrease by about 33% per kilowatt hour for all residential customers, the utility says.

Different consumers would see different base rates, depending on where they live and which power companies service their residences.

The proposal is certain to provoke outrage in a state that already has the highest top income tax rate in the country — a whopping 13.3% on the biggest earners.

Last summer, the state faced widespread electricity shortages, thanks to peak demand during a heat wave, as well as the state’s failure to invest in new power generation capacity.

The state’s power companies, notably Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), have also been faulted for their role in wildfires, as aging wires have sometimes sparked blazes in high winds.


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