Article

Group claims electric bill contains hidden taxes - Fees collected on bills used to fund wind farms

With the price of energy at an all time high, taxes and surcharges in your bill are under a lot more scrutiny.

Now some residents are concerned the fees funding renewable energy programs were never approved by the Legislature.

Folks from around the state came to Albany Monday, saying the fees are in essence taxes and they have no idea how their money is being spent since their representatives are not involved in the process.

The price of energy is out of control, which is partly why renewable energy, like wind power, seems so attractive. If you look at your electricity bill with a fine tooth comb, you'll notice that you're already paying for it.

“It's very small. I ignored it for five years,” concerned citizen Sue Brander said.

The charges are under SBC (systems benefits charge) and RPS (renewable portfolio standards). It's a small percentage of your energy use that amounts to about $2 a month.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority uses the money to create incentives for wind energy companies to set up wind farms in New York.

“That's a lot of money with no legislative oversight,” Brander said.
Assemblyman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, chairs the energy committee.
He agrees and even had hearings on the same subject demanding more oversight.

“Is there transparency to them for the sake of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Now some residents are concerned the fees funding renewable energy programs were never approved by the Legislature.

Folks from around the state came to Albany Monday, saying the fees are in essence taxes and they have no idea how their money is being spent since their representatives are not involved in the process.

The price of energy is out of control, which is partly why renewable energy, like wind power, seems so attractive.  If you look at your electricity bill with a fine tooth comb, you'll notice that you're already paying for it.

“It's very small. I ignored it for five years,” concerned citizen Sue Brander said.

The charges are under SBC (systems benefits charge) and RPS (renewable portfolio standards).  It's a small percentage of your energy use that amounts to about $2 a month.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority uses the money to create incentives for wind energy companies to set up wind farms in New York.

“That's a lot of money with no legislative oversight,” Brander said.
Assemblyman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, chairs the energy committee. 
He agrees and even had hearings on the same subject demanding more oversight.

“Is there transparency to them for the sake of accountability and the taxpayer right to know?  We couldn't establish that,” Tonko said.

The fees are not illegal.  They were set up by the Public Service Commission.

Robert Moore of Environmental Advocates of New York is a proponent of wind power.  He says citizens have a right to ask questions, but adds that the fees actually help taxpayers save money.

“To act like this was a tax that was levied illegally pulls us all away from the merit of wind power,” Moore said.

NYSERDA officials say the program delivers more in energy savings than the fees.  They say it goes beyond wind power.  The money collected also covers fuel cells and other initiatives that will make New York more energy independent.

Source: http://www.wnyt.com/x6902.x...

FEB 8 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1217-group-claims-electric-bill-contains-hidden-taxes-fees-collected-on-bills-used-to-fund-wind-farms
back to top