The truth about the fixed charge is being revealed

Last week, 30 percent  of state Assemblymembers sent a letter to Public Utilities Commission President, Alice Busching Reynolds asking the commission to halt the implementation of the fixed charge utility rate restructuring.

The twenty-two legislators, whose political profile stretched from progressive to moderate, expressed several concerns:

  • The CPUC has rejected public hearings on the fixed charge proposal.
  • The CPUC has had legislative authority to implement a fixed charge for 10 years but has failed to do so – because a fixed charge is a bad idea, AB 327 (Perea, Chapter 611, Statutes of 2013).
  • The policy will disproportionately hurt working families just outside of the CARE and FERA categories the most.
  • The fixed charge will encourage over-usage of electricity as it removes financial incentives to conserve.
  • The policy is purposely designed to hurt those who are thoughtful about demand response, energy efficiency, Green generation and battery storage.
  • There is zero evidence the policy will encourage electrification in California.

Allow us to simplify and provide context to the problems these legislators have with the fixed charge proposal:

The utility tax proposal is nothing more than a deceptive ploy by the monopoly utilities to ensure their long-term profits at the expense of working families.

The CPUC is rejecting public input for the same reason the fixed charge was shoved last minute, into a climate bill, in the first place. The IOUs and their legislative allies understand that the highest fixed charge in the nation is a bad idea that would not bear the weight of scrutiny at the legislative committee or agency level – much less from the general public.

The manner in which we transition from a fossil fuel-powered electricity grid will have irreversible consequences on climate and environmental justice as well as economic equity.  We need to do it right. Rushing an untested rate policy down everyone’s throats reeks of the worst kind of crony politics.

In California, we have a long-standing commitment to open and transparent government. The manner in which the fixed charge policy has been handled defies those values.

Join our growing coalition to Repeal AB 205’s fixed charge provisions. We need a serious discussion about the future of Green power that includes the voices of California’s most important stakeholders–those disproportionately affected by the negative consequences of a dirty industrial economy.