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California Regulators Set To Overhaul Home Electricity Costs

Photo Credit: Andrew Nixon
 

Photo Credit: Andrew Nixon

(AP) - Big energy users are set to get a break on electricity while more efficient consumers will see their bills rise, under a proposal being considered by California regulators.

The state Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote Friday on a plan that would overhaul the way the state's investor-owned utilities charge for electricity. Legislators in 2001, in response to the state's energy crisis, expanded rate-paying tiers from two to four and froze lowest-tier rates to protect households from spiking energy bills.

The new proposal calls for a return to two tiers, plus a surcharge for the highest electricity users. Utilities have long complained that the steeply tiered system means higher-use households have unfairly subsidized low-use households for years.

Consumer and environmental groups prefer an alternate proposal that would maintain steep tiers.