Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The New Progressive Tax: Your Power Bill

I read today on the Raleigh News & Observer that the conservationists in the NC General Assembly are thinking about the idea of tiered electric rates. Here's the article. In a nutshell, if one is able to do so, state lawmakers are considering changing how people are charged for electric usage. Higher tier users would be charged a higher rate per unit compared to those that use little a lower amount per unit. Currently the state's power companies charge a flat rate per unit, save for Duke Power, but this new proposal would allow the state's public utilities commission to overhaul the rate plans.

This new proposal was introduced by Patsy Keever, a Democrat from Buncumb County. Why is this a bad idea?

From the article . . .
James McLawhorn, who directs the electric division of the Public Staff, said that no matter how the state chooses to meet future demand -- through new power plants, renewables or conservation -- the rates will have to go up to pay for those policies.

He said inverted rates would almost certainly raise rates for everyone. The Public Staff is the state agency responsible for advocating for utility customers.

"They would definitely drive up rates," McLawhorn said. "The utilities would come in for a rate case. The lowest tier would keep increasing to keep recovering their fixed costs."

Behold! The future!
 I'm down with conserving. I recycle. I try to save power when and where I can. I drive a car that gets very good gas mileage. Unfortunately, what the green movement is doing is just making regular retail goods more expensive. You don't believe me? How much do regular incandescent light bulbs cost? Right now, I can go to Lowe's and get a pack of eight 100 Watt incandescent bulbs for $3.98. Or I can buy one 25 Watt CFL bulb (comparable to a 100 Watt incandescent bulb) for $6.14. I'm all for saving the planet and natural resources, but people who don't have the money to spend on CFL bulbs simply are not going to buy them. And now governments across the world are phasing out incandescent bulbs or passing energy standards that will do the same. It's a tax on the poor!

Some poorer people already live in homes that aren't fit to live in. Still, it's their abode. Unfortunately, a lot of those homes have bad insulation and aren't wrapped well. Thus, in the winter, they just leak heat. If they have an electric furnace, their power bill in the winter may be sky high in order to provide adequate warmth  to the home. If they use higher rates of electricity in the winter, under the proposed plan, they may be paying even higher rates than they are accustomed to. In addition to higher rates, this may also prompt more people to ask the feds for more help with home energy costs through the HEAP program. What a wonderful acronym by the way. From the state of New York website . . .
HEAP is a federally funded program that issues heating benefits to supplement a household’s annual energy cost. HEAP also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat related energy emergency. Additionally, HEAP offers a furnace repair and/or replacement benefit for households with inoperable heating equipment.

Yes, I know I got off on a tangent. But I'm trying to prove a point. It seems that every time the left tries to come up with some way or proposal to protect the environment, it is simply an indirect tax on something. And the poor are generally the ones that it hurts the most. I'm aware that this is a worst case scenario but I can't imagine how changing electric plans to a tiered rate plan would benefit anyone.
So, we're taxing the middle class and rich again. Wonderful.

Instead of introducing higher income taxes, the liberals are just going to punish you once a month. It's no surprise that those with higher wages will probably have bigger houses, and those houses might, miiiiiiight just cost a little more to heat and cool, along with more appliances, light bulbs, and so on. You see where they're going with this.

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