Electricity Fee Mulled in No. Carolina

Published February 1, 2007

In North Carolina, the trend toward taxing “sinful behavior” is reaching new heights. The North Carolina Public Utilities Commission is considering charging an extra “fee,” separate from existing rates, to electric utility customers.

The fee would go to a “public benefits fund” that has nothing to do with the actual cost of supplying electricity. The fund would be used in part to discourage electricity use.

Daren Bakst, legal and regulatory policy analyst with the North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation, said the “fees” are really taxes.

“These sin taxes are given innocent names like ‘energy efficiency charge,'” Bakst said. “This ‘horrible’ sin [of using electricity] keeps us warm in the winter and is the difference between living in the nineteenth century and the twenty-first century.

“The worst part is that policymakers get away with this,” Bakst said.

Sandra Fabry