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Question

Are there any gas & electric utility companies in the US that have the ability to charge different rates on electricity vs. natural gas?

A friend of mine lives in northern California.  A group he's a part of would like to raise the Utility Tax rate on natural gas.  These taxes are set city-by-city.  About 2/3 of cities have no Utility Tax, and in those that do the rate ranges from 2% to 11%.  His local utility (PG&E: Pacific Gas and Electric) controls the software that applies the tax for each city and disburses the money to the cities.  Their software does not allow the tax on natural gas to be different from the tax on electricity.  There is no legal requirement for this, and it appears that PG&E would modify their software if they were funded to do so.  He's trying to figure out if there are any other gas & electric utility companies in the US that already have the ability to charge different rates on electricity vs. natural gas.

Please do share if you know of any! 

Best,

Ryan

Answers

A good resource would be the Public Utility Commissions in various states. I believe each area can define different prices and taxes for utilities. Significantly increasing utility costs impacts those with less income the most. Please keep in mind that about ten years ago there was a big push for replacing electric devices with natural gas as it was believed to be the 'cleaner alternative' at the time compared with coal. These investments may have up to twenty year life cycles.  Those with less means would not be able to easily replace equipment. One suggestion, instead of increasing the utility burden via taxes, the electric utility would provide incentives for new equipment replacing the less efficient gas options.

I wanted to follow up with an answer I got to my own question from an old-coworker:

The short answer is yes. There are multiple layers of tax that you can find on retail energy bills ranging from state GRT, local franchise fees, state, county, and local sales taxes, and other misc stuff. Different tax rates on gas vs electric in the same jurisdiction is rather common

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