Over the past year or so, the war against “the rich” has been amping up to unprecedented levels. The problem is that almost all policies aimed at the “rich” end up targeting the struggling middle class.
From people with good credit paying fines to aid those with bad credit receive loans to expecting those without college diplomas or who have responsibly repaid student loans to foot the bill for others, the entitlement mentality of liberals reaches new levels every day.
California, already a cesspool of failed and failing policies, has found yet another way to push funding for progressive policies and unsustainable ideologies onto the backs of “the rich.”
California proudly introduces a new law, fully endorsed by electric companies, to create new charges for residents in addition to their expected rates. Of course, the “rich” will pay for it all.
Predictably, the “rich” will not have the entire burden resting on their shoulders. Middle-class Californians are expected to “pay their fair share” as well.
The fixed charges will be used to transition the state’s infrastructure to fund poles, meters, wires, and even customer service departments to renewable energy. Additionally, the payments will be used to cover “the costs of wildfire mitigation and vegetation management, reliability improvements, safety, and risk management distribution costs, ongoing distribution operations and maintenance, many regulatory balancing accounts, and various programs and policy mandates through its distribution rates.”
In other words, Californians are expected to fork over even more of their hard-earned money for utility companies to spend however they please.
The fixed monthly charge will be income-based, while the rates per kilowatt hour will, allegedly, drop across the state.
These monthly charges are aimed at covering the estimated $9.3 billion that experts predict will be needed over the next decade to transition the shift to electric vehicles by 2045.
The breakdown of these charges is estimated to be $24 per month for those earning up to $28k a year, $34 for those earning $28k to $69k, $73 for those making between $68k and $180k, and those earning over $180k forking over $128 a month.
Per San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond, “All these fees are tacked on before using a single kilowatt hour, meaning median-income San Diegans will pay $876 a year in electricity rates, regardless of whether they use any electricity.” In an almost comical twist, he adds, “Also…San Diegans will still get charged these monthly rates if they have residential solar.”
A predictable outcome of this decision will be a reluctance for wealthier homeowners to invest in green energy like solar power. The charge negates the benefits of investing in solar panels, and the additional time before solar users can recoup their investment will discourage residents from making the switch.
“It’s taking the utility system and applying a progressive tax system to it,” warns Mark Wolfe, director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association. “It’s a real shift in thinking.”
To add to the fun, there is no consensus on how the utility companies will know how much residents earn. The California Public Utilities Commission generally determines which entity and what methods will be used to determine household income, but all utilities are leaning towards appointing a third party to do the legwork. The agency will operate under state supervision, already a terrifying idea, or, even worse, a state agency itself.
California already tops the list of providing the most absurdly expensive energy prices in America. While the rest of the nation’s estimated energy costs hover around just under 16 cents per kilowatt hour, California boasts an astounding 25.15 cents per kilowatt hour.
As expected, California residents are bristling at the idea of even more hard-earned money flowing out of their pockets by legislative fiat. For one thing, Californians aren’t eager to share their income and other personal information with an agency that, simply put, has no right to know it. Utility providers have historically never collected any data on income, and customers don’t want them to start now. Even worse, using a third-party income verification system adds another layer of bureaucracy in a state already drowning in it.
Wolfe foresees challenges in getting residents to comply with income verification. He noted, “Something like this would require 100% compliance, and how do we know low-income people will sign up?” He raised concerns based on his observation that only half of residents eligible for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) sign up for assistance. “You’ll have to educate them to sign up. And what if they don’t? Will they be automatically charged the highest amount?”
The wealthy have been fleeing California to protect themselves from out-of-control tax-the-rich schemes, just like this one. The residents who remain will be faced with more rate hikes to make up the difference.
California’s motto, “Eureka!” is of Greek origin, meaning “I have found it.” It was originally adopted as a nod to miners who gold in the state.
Sadly, it is more applicable now as a tagline for California’s politicians looking for new ways to separate the miners from their gold.