Must read editorial: Duke should pass along federal tax break to consumers

This morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com hits the nail on the head with its conclusion that Duke energy should be required to pass along its recent federal tax windfall to consumers. As the editorial (“Utility companies’ tax cut must yield rate break for N.C. consumers”) points out:

“State regulators, in North Carolina it’s the state Utilities Commission, allow these companies to charge rates that cover their costs and provide a return for investors. Those costs include production and distribution of the power, maintenance of equipment and transmission facilities, and the cost of paying taxes.

When the federal tax rate is slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent, the impact is huge.

How big? Well one utility company, Baltimore Gas and Electric, has already figured it is worth $82 million a year back to its 1.25 million electric and 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. While there’s no estimate on how much might go to North Carolina consumers, Duke Energy has 3.3 million retail electric and 717,000 natural gas customers.

Because companies like Duke can pass the cost of federal taxes onto consumers it is only right that when those taxes consumers have been paying get cut, consumers should get the full benefit.”

The editorial goes on to explain that Attorney general Josh Stein is rightfully pushing for the pass-through along with some of his peers from other states. Here’s the conclusion:

“Corporations have been taking advantage of a raging stock market, record profits and unheard of amounts of cash in their coffers. It is past time to extend this economic expansion to the other 99 percent of the nation.

‘The benefit of those tax cuts should go to the consumers,’ Stein said. ‘Otherwise it’s a windfall for the corporations that they don’t need or deserve. You can’t get reimbursed for a cost you don’t incur.’

Gov. Roy Cooper and the leadership in the General Assembly, if they truly believe in relief for ALL North Carolina taxpayers, should join Attorney General Stein’s efforts to be sure it is the CONSUMERS who should get, and deserve, this tax cut benefit. The Utilities Commission should deliver it, in full.”

Exactly.

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