Tuesday, September 13, 2011
California's clean energy projects will lose around $400 million in funding in 2012 due to the elimination of the so-called public goods charge. This surcharge, paid by customers of Southern California Edison and other investor-owned utilities, adds a practically unnoticeable $1 to $2 each month to the average residential electric bill and helps fund energy efficiency programs and research. Some of these said initiatives have led to the development of LED light fixtures, wireless lighting controls and improved water heaters and thermostats.
Governor Brown highly prioritizes clean energy, but the Legislature failed to gain the two-thirds vote needed by Friday's deadline to extend the tax beyond December 31, 2011. Martin Schlageter, Coalition for Clean Air's Campaign Director, says the failure is "an incredible shame," reports LA Daily News. "I think extending this tax was basically a no-brainer," he said.
The surcharge has been enforced since 1997, and Jim Metropulos, senior advocate with the Sierra Club, warns that "because funding is not guaranteed after this year, agencies will probably start winding down their projects." He hopes Governor Brown will persevere and restore the surcharge.
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Jon Coupal claims the surcharge is both "anti-consumer" and "unnecessary," adding, "If green energy is efficient, then companies will pursue it on their own, because it's in their own best interests."