California proposal calls for income-based utility bills, high-earners pay most regardless of usage

If enacted, costs will be passed along to consumers who may have consumed the least energy in a month, but who would be forced to pay the most.

Published: April 17, 2023 10:46am

Updated: April 17, 2023 1:12pm

Californians utility companies have presented a plan in response to a new state law requiring them to come up with a fix-rate bill base on customers' bills annual income – not how much electricity and water they use.

San Diego Gas & Electric, PG&E and Southern California Edison filed a joint proposal alongside California’s Public Utilities Commission that, if adopted, would fix the rate on income per household. 

The fixed-rate proposal would be as follows:

  • less than $28,000 – $15 a month
  • $28,000 - $69,000 – $20 a month
  • $69,000 - $180,000 – $51 a month
  • over $180,000 – $85 a month

SDG&E, which is owned by Fortune 500 company Sempra, says such a move could reduce the energy usage in California by 42% and can create additional bill savings, according to Scorr Crider, the company's vice president of external affairs.

The California Public Utilities Commission must approve the proposal and make a final decision by 2024. If the proposal is approved, the bill rates could change as soon as 2025.

Californian is known for being on of the most expensive U.S. states in which to live.

U.S. News & World Report ranked California as the state with third-most- expensive rent, on average $1,658 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. In places like downtown San Diego, studio apartments (no bedroom) go for over $2,500 a month. 

Forbes has California in the top-five for most-expensive utilities in America, about $200 a month.

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