By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine
January 17, 2018 (San Diego) - Gas and electric companies in California must lower utility bills so that ratepayers, not shareholders, will receive windfall savings from the federal tax reform bill recently signed into law.
The action comes in response to a letter sent to the California Public Utilities Commission by State Senator Jerry Hill, a San Mateo Democrat. Senator Hill asked the state’s regulatory agency to calculate how much utilities will save under the tax cuts and reduce customers’ monthly bills accordingly.
CPUC public information officer Terrie Prosper confirmed in an email to Senator Hill, “At the CPUC’s direction, all of the electric and gas utilities in California are tracking the savings from the tax law changes and will be required to refund the savings to their customers.”
It's unclear just how much your utility bill will be going down. The tax bill cuts corporate rates anywhere from 21 to 35 percent, but some utilities paid far less with various deductions.
PG&E estimates it could save a half billion dollars a year under the new tax law. ECM asked SDG&E for its anticipated savings and how much the average ratepayer may expect to see their bill reduced.
Wes Jones, communications manager at SDG&E, responded, "We are assessing how the new law will impact our operations and we have already implemented a tax tracking mechanism to assure any net tax benefits will flow to our customers. We will work closely with the California Public Utilities Commission to determine how best to pass on those savings to our customers."