CPUC follows Senate Republicans’ recommendation, scraps income-based utility bill

After immense pressure from California Senate Republicans, the California Public Utilities Commission has finally listened and is scrapping the income-based utility bill scheme proposed by California’s largest utilities, which came to fruition as a result of Assembly Bill 205. The non-elective commission released a flat fixed rate proposal, with reduced charges for low-income customers, and is expected to vote on it on May 9, 2024.

District 1 State Senator Brian Dahle.

“As vice chair of the Senate Energy, Utility and Communications Committee, l have strongly advocated for affordable and reliable energy for Californians, but the majority party’s misguided approach has been driving up the rates for years,” said Senator Brian Dahle. “This income-based utility scheme was another disastrous measure. I appreciate the CPUC heeding Republicans’ advice to pause this nonsensical bill, and I will continue to work tirelessly with my colleagues to make energy reform a reality in our state.”

State Senator Brian W.Jones.

“I’m cautiously optimistic to see that CPUC’s preliminary decision on a new fixed-rate plan for electrical billing includes a flat rate rather than one of the ludicrous income-based charges that had been proposed,” said Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones. “I’m looking deeper into the proposal and studying how it will affect my constituents and ratepayers across the state. Still, I hope this may be a compromise Californians can live with. At the same time, I anticipate that electricity rates will continue to be a huge affordability issue in California, even under this new flat rate proposal.”

The CPUC’s fixed rate proposal has a 20-day comment period and is eligible for a vote at the next CPUC public meeting on May 9, 2024.

Background
California Senate Republicans have been leading the fight against the income-based electricity charge after Capitol Democrats rammed it through budget trailer bill AB 205 in 2022. In 2023, and as recent as January 2024, Senate Democrats thwarted Senate Republicans’ efforts to provide Californians a lifeline by repealing AB 205. Additionally, this year, Senate Minority Leader Jones and the entire Senate Republican Caucus introduced SB 1326 to repeal the income-based fixed charge mandated by AB 205.

Click here to learn more about the caucus’ efforts.