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Equity Electricity has arrived! Income based power bills – California utilities propose charging customers based on income – ‘Isn’t this what they do in China & Cuba?’

By Marc Cota-Robles and Rob Hayes

Three major utility companies in California are looking to restructure customer billing, and part of that means customers could be charged based on how much money they make.

Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric filed a joint proposal this week for a flat-rate charge based on income.

The plan would break monthly bills in two parts: The fixed-income rate, plus a reduced usage charge based on consumption.

Under the proposal, it would cost as little as $15 a month for low-income households and up to $85 more per month for households making more than $180,000 a year.

The income-based bill proposal is part of the companies’ compliance with legislation passed by the California state government last year requiring these types of plans for utilities.



Three major state utility companies are proposing a new way to charge their residential customers, and part of billing for electricity would be based on income.

A new state law requires utility companies in California to come up with a fixed-rate plan to help stabilize rates and make bills more affordable.

  • Households earning less than $28,000 a year would pay a fixed charge of $15 a month on their electric bills in Edison and PG&E territories and $24 a month in SDG&E territory.
  • Households with annual income from $28,000 to $69,000 would pay $20 a month in Edison territory, $34 a month in SDG&E territory and $30 a month in PG&E territory.
  • Households earning from $69,000 to $180,000 would pay $51 a month in Edison and PG&E territories and $73 a month in SDG&E territory.
  • Those with incomes above $180,000 would pay $85 a month in Edison territory, $128 a month in SDG&E territory and $92 a month in PG&E territory.



Electricity fixed-rate payment plan based on income comes as a shock to many ratepayers

Basing utility rates on income is unjustifiable

First thing that came to mind upon reading this article was “socialism.” Adopting socialist policies is sheer madness.

Allowing utilities like SDG&E to dictate how much we each pay based on income is grossly discriminatory and inexcusable. This is a form of punishment. Isn’t this what they do in China and Cuba? The audacity of SDG&E to even entertain this idea is a travesty. However much gas and electricity a household uses, that is what they should pay for regardless of income. Incomes are becoming targets to be chipped away at in order to fund others in a tier system. This is unethical, partisan, unjustifiable and just plain wrong.

Nicoline Richardson
Mission Hills


Other reader comments:

If fairness requires that electricity bills be based in part on customers’ ability to pay, will the owners of the means of production (Sempra’s shareholders), who have more ability to pay than most utility customers, agree to limit their profits in the proposed new billing model?

Will the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California also look at tax returns to determine how much people will pay and who will be subsidized by taxpayers? Leftism is a policy based on the political and economic theory of socialism.

It’s clear that San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, which are losing money to residential solar power users, support yet another plan to increase their profits. If the current proposal for only income-based electrical usage is enacted, why would anyone conserve electricity? How is the state going to verify the income of a household? Match all income tax returns for a given address?