Your Opinion: Questions about utility surcharge
Thursday, March 7, 2013
I have a few thoughts and/or questions about SB207 ISRS.
I went online and tried to read the online version of SB207. There are so many references to this section or that paragraph that it made no sense to me.
Where can we get a complete plain English version or summary of the bill that can actually be read and understood by a layperson who does not have access to all the references in the bill? It would seem to me that if the sponsors were not trying to pull the wool over our eyes they would make a complete listing of the bill available highlighting the changes being made by SB207.
Who is going to decide what infrastructure upgrades are necessary? How shall we to know what is necessary and what is a Christmas list that they would like to have? If the utilities start to collect this surcharge, who is the oversight that will compel them to use it only on infrastructure upgrade and not repairs? Who is going to monitor that money to ensure that it does not go into their general revenue and be used for overhead and stockholder dividends? When are we going to say that the infrastructure is upgraded sufficiently?
I would be more inclined to support the legislation if it contained verbiage that required the utility to put any infrastructure upgrades out for bids with the monies coming from the surcharges collected from the customers. This could be done by selling bonds and repaying them from the surcharge revenues. I think that this would be a small price to pay for transparency and peace of mind for the utility customers.
In short, I do not trust the utilities to use the monies that they will collect via the surcharge for only infrastructure upgrades.
I have retired from a contracting business that I built from scratch using borrowed money and many long hours of labor. At no time was it ever an option for me to charge my customers up front for a new piece of equipment or a building. To obtain a new piece of equipment I saved enough to borrow the additional amount needed for the project.
As the utilities that are the beneficiaries of SB207 are for profit entities, I feel that they should be made to spend accumulated profit in the same way I did.