July 10, 2000
Council seeks member input on energy surcharge bills
The Business Council is asking its Energy Committee and its manufacturing members for feedback on bills that would extend and/or increase a $78 million energy tax that is due to expire next June.
"We're asking our members to help frame a position on this tax," said Johnny Evers, The Council's energy analyst.
The current "systems benefit charge" (SBC) on all energy bills supports research and development, low-income residential customers, and technology programs.
The Council opposes three bills that would nullify much or all of the savings from repeal of employers' energy gross receipts tax, he said.
One bill (A.6099-C/Tonko) would extend the SBC for 10 years with no expiration date while empowering the Legislature to change it. Only the state Public Service Commission can change the SBC now, and only with input from affected parties.
The other two bills (A.8506-C/Engelbright and S.7323-B/Marcellino) would each use a similar surcharge to fund a "clean energy fund." These bills set an unrealistic timetable against which utilities would be required to supply at least 10 percent of their energy from so-called "clean" energy technologies, Evers added. nd so on.