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AG: Tax changes should flow to NC utility customers

Posted December 18, 2013

Attorney General Roy Cooper
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— Changes to state taxes that affect utilities should result in lower power rates for consumers, Attorney General Roy Cooper told the North Carolina Utilities Commission in a filing this week.

Increases in certain taxes paid by utilities should be more than offset by reductions in other taxes, and the savings should be passed along to utility customers, Cooper argued in comments filed by the Attorney General’s Office late Monday.

“Overall, lower taxes paid by utilities ought to mean lower bills for their customers,” Cooper said in a statement. “We’re asking the Utilities Commission to make sure that’s the case.”

Changes that take effect Jan. 1 will reduce the state income tax rate, repeal the gross receipt taxes paid by utilities, increase the effective tax rate paid on sales of electricity from 3 percent to 7 percent and require utilities to pay corporate franchise taxes.

State law directs the Utilities Commission to adjust rates to reflect some, but not all, of the tax changes. Cooper said he wants the commission to use its authority to make sure all tax changes are applied in a way that results in lower rates for consumers.

“It would seem inequitable, for example, to increase customer rates for the corporate franchise tax that will apply to certain utilities, given that this increase will be offset by the reduction in the income tax paid by those utilities,” Cooper said in the filing.

The commission should use “any tax reductions as benefits to consumers in the form of rate decreases so that utility rates for consumers are set as low as possible,” he argued.

Cooper already is fighting rate increases the commission has approved for Duke Energy and the former Progress Energy.

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  • downtowner Dec 19, 2013

    Apparently future governor Cooper does not understand the concept of free market capitalism--the profit motive. They utility companies will not pass on the savings to their customers because they do not have to, they have no competition. They should just use the tax breaks for CEO raises and other executive compensation. That is the Republican way.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 19, 2013

    ""I still, to this day, do not understand why they charge a $4.99 "convenience fee" for online/phone payments when no one touches the transaction. That is why I mail a check. I already pay the electric company enough money as it is.""

    Why do people think having an electronic system is FREE? It is not. Case in point look at the enormous cost of implementing an electronic system for ObamaCare and the money the State is spending revamping the Medicaid billing system. There is a cost associated regardless of the system used to collect payment.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 19, 2013

    Hey Cooper how about focusing on CRIME.

    "'Wonder if he'd be for this if he were not running for Governor'

    Probably, but he likely wouldn't be making such a production out of fighting it. It's a perfect Dem / Repub contrast 'issue' for an election cycle."

    No he would not. He did not start doing this kind of stuff until after he got re-elected and then apparently decided he wants to be the next Governor. He won't get my vote. He was one of two main party candidates that I voted for because I thought he had done a Good JOB as AG. I had no idea he was not really running for the JOB of AG. If he wanted to be Governor, he should have stepped down and run against McCorry. Stuff like this is why I so rarely vote for any Dem or Rep. Gee maybe he should have come out against the huge tax increase we just got from Wake County. Oh oops, gee yeah, so long as it is GOVERNMENT grabbing money Roy is okay with that.

  • macy Dec 19, 2013

    Thank you Mr. Cooper but it ain't gonna happen!!

  • 426X3 Dec 19, 2013

    Right!

  • AmazedAtThis Dec 18, 2013

    'Wonder if he'd be for this if he were not running for Governor'

    Probably, but he likely wouldn't be making such a production out of fighting it. It's a perfect Dem / Repub contrast 'issue' for an election cycle.

  • iron fist Dec 18, 2013

    Lower rates? He just wasted his breath and time making that statement. Just more profit for the utility companies.

  • razor2 Dec 18, 2013

    Adding sales tax on electricity - what a great idea, Republican legislators.

    This is another reason that lower income people are having such a
    hard time making ends meet. Prices keep climbing and bills keep
    climbing the rubber band has been stretched so far its gonna snap.

    Again this kind of stuff just reflects the kind of folks running the NC government they have blinders on when it comes to the welfare
    of the people of this state beyond those in the upper income brackets.

  • Road-wearier Dec 18, 2013

    "I still, to this day, do not understand why they charge a $4.99 "convenience fee" for online/phone payments when no one touches the transaction. That is why I mail a check. I already pay the electric company enough money as it is."

    Exactly. Every other company is BEGGING for customers to go electronic because it saves them money and reduces errors. This is pure gouging and AG Cooper should have a go at it...Duke Powah is the last utility bill for which I cut a check.

  • disgusted2010 Dec 18, 2013

    Wonder if he would be for this if he were not running for Governor?

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