This bill is designed to hide a tax increase under the guise of improving energy efficiency, but all HB 1050, Independent Energy Efficiency Administrator, by Reps. Blue D-Wake, Tolson D-Edgecombe, Glazier D-Cumberland and Harrison D-Guilford, will really do is squeeze North Carolinians already struggling with the 8th highest unemployment rate in the country.
The plan is to add another tax to our gas and electricity bill to fund “NC Save$ energy,” a quasi-governmental, non-profit charged with promoting and regulating energy efficiency. “NC Save$ energy” would be completely unaccountable and have the unfettered power to raise the tax as it sees fit.
The guidelines for selecting members of the non-profit board and advisory board are so specific that it’s clear the bill’s sponsors already know who they want and have already decided who will get to run wild with taxpayer funds in the name of energy efficiency.
If business and commercial customers thinks they are safe from this new tax – read closer:
“As part of its annual review, the Utilities Commission may also determine whether a surcharge should be imposed upon other classes of customers and credited to the Fund for the purposes of providing similar services and, if so, establish such a surcharge for those classes.”
As for how much we normal people will have to pay:
“The Utilities Commission shall review the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund annually and determine whether the surcharge under subsection (b) of this section should be increased for residential customers in order to carry out the purpose of this Article and to meet utility integrated resource planning requirements pursuant to G.S. 62-110.1. Under no circumstances shall the surcharge be less than the surcharge under subsection (b) of this section.”
In plain English, they can raise the tax on your electricity and gas bill as high as they want.
Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg), a co sponsor, is open about the objectives of this bill. “This adds about twelve dozen people to dance around a fire, beat a drum, and talk about energy efficiency,” said Alexander during a committee meeting. Translation, it is a feel good bill to give state government more money, power and control over people’s lives.
And if all this is not bad enough, the bill contains language to insure that it is just a tax increase and money grab by state government:
“Higher priority under subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of this section shall be given to programs that benefit buildings owned by State or local government.”
Work on state and local government buildings is why we pay taxes. It is not why we pay our power bills to heat and cool our homes and cook our food!
If HB 1050 passes and is implemented it contains a mandate to increase our gas and electricity bills within 90 days. Paying higher prices for gas and electricity now and even higher prices later along with expanding the government bureaucratic control over our lives are excellent reasons for this bill to be the “Bad Bill of the Week.”